The Lufkin Panthers varsity basketball team pulled off a 61-28 district victory against Nacogdoches on Tuesday night in Panther Gymnasium.
Due to incidents tied to last year’s games between the longtime rival schools, the game was conducted a little differently this year. To attend the game, spectators had to get a ticket from a basketball player beforehand, and security was enhanced.
Panthers junior Elijah Johnson scored 23 points, making five of the team’s 11 three-pointers.
“It felt good,” he said. “It was a big win for all of us, really, and it just felt great to beat our hometown rival.”
The Panthers have a winning record so far this season, which they said has given them more confidence and the ability to work together more effectively.
“I feel like, after a big win, we all play as a family rather than just teammates,” junior Pierce Parks said.
The Pack’s big win against Nacogdoches came after a loss to district rival Whitehouse.
“I feel after the loss, it fueled our fire more,” Parks said, “and I feel like it all made us upset, because we all hate losing to a team we all know we could’ve beat.”
The Panthers’ district schedule continues with a 7 o’clock game against Jacksonville tonight, also at Panther Gym on the Lufkin Middle School campus.