By JD McCarthy
For the Opelika Observer
The Smiths Stations boys’ impressive season came to a close in Fairhope Friday. The Panthers fell to Fairhope 79-49 in the Class 7A Southwest Regional first round. The loss ended the Panthers’ season with a record of 19 wins and four losses.
“Any time you win 80% of your games at Smiths Station that’s a great season,” head coach Stephen Davis said of the season. “They don’t have anything to hang their heads about. I’m extremely proud of them.”
The Panthers were led by Dre Weathers, who finished with 18 points, and Donovan Pearman, who had 16 points. They were unable to slow down Fairhope’s Riley Leonard, however, who scored 30 points to lead all.
Although the season is over, the Panthers can look back on the campaign as a success. One of the keys for the Panthers’ big season was the development of Pearman and Zay Madden in their senior seasons. Pearman progressed in multiple facets; Madden made it his mission to dominate in the paint; both were figureheads of their team.
“This year, they took on a leadership role and really made the season go,” Davis said. “Pearman is just an all-around special kid. Zay Madden really dedicated himself to basketball and really showed up big for us, giving us a presence down low.”
Davis continued and was quick to point out that the development of his players goes back to a season ago, when many of them were forced to start as sophomores and the growing pains they faced help set the foundation for this year’s success.
“We were young last year; a lot of the kids that started this year were just sophomores last season, so we were young,” he said. “So it was great to see them step up and do what they had to do to improve. That’s what we want, we always want to see improvement.”
When asked what players really stood out to him, he was quick to point out how impressed he was with his entire team. “I’m extremely proud of them all,” Davis added.
Moving forward, Davis is eager to build on the success from this season. While he will lose five seniors, they will return several key players in Devyn Pearman, Dre Weather and Tre’quan Turner.
“Devyn Pearman, the way he plays is extremely hard,” Davis said. “Of course, Dre Weathers, whenever you talk about a kid who probably dunked the ball over 100 times in a season and get him back next season you start looking for special things from him.”