Title has different meaning for both Banks and Porter

Monday, March 17, 2014
Scott County Central's Larandis Banks (5) attempts a layup Saturday during the Class 1 state championship game at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. (Chris Pobst Photo)

sports@standard-democrat.com

COLUMBIA -- Scott County Central senior Larandis Banks was in tears and his sophomore teammate Jeffery Porter was beaming.

It's not uncommon for a senior to be a bit more emotional than a player who has two more years to go and those differences showed following Scott Central's 69-39 win over Meadville Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.

Scott County Central's Jeffery Porter reacts after receiving his Class 1 state championship medal following the Braves' 69-39 win over Meadville Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. (Chris Pobst Photo)

Banks, as well as he senior classmates Kendall Blissett, Juwan Owens and others, were visibly shaken once the realization of victory appeared. For Banks, it was a relief knowing he finished on top of the mountain after the Braves fell short a season ago during a devastating 65-55 loss to Eminence in the quarterfinal round.

"It feels good, especially after last year coming up short," Banks said. "It feels good to come out on top this year."

The 6-foot guard, who led Scott Central in scoring this season with 19 points a game, said the emotions began to flow shortly after Saturday's win because of disappointment felt last season. He admitted that loss was a direct result of entitlement based on the Braves winning four consecutive state titles starting in 2009. Banks started on Scott Central's previous state championship team in 2012.

"I think we wanted it more this year," said Banks. "We thought it would be handed to us last year and we came out and actually worked for it this year."

Banks finished the two-day championship run with a combined 37 points. He led the Braves with 26 in the 69-63 semifinal win against Stanberry and scored 11 on Saturday in the title game.

"It took a lot of hard work to get here," Banks said. "It's just now starting to set in. We're seniors. It's our last run."

For Porter, he was one of the few with a huge smile on his face.

The sophomore guard, who is the team's second leading scorer at 13.1 points per game and starting point guard, was happy for two reasons.

"It's good to get the seniors a win and a state championship to let them go out with a win," he said. "We wanted to get up here this year for the seniors and do it for them."

The second reason was a bit more personal.

Porter is the younger brother of former standout and current NBA player Otto Porter Jr. and also the son of Scott Central legend Otto Porter Sr. and all-state women's player Elnora Porter -- formally Elnora Timmons.

He's been known as "Otto Porter's little brother" since he can remember but Saturday he stood as Jeffery Porter. The smooth shooting, sure-handed ball handler that awed fans with his hesitation, behind the back, crossover move that sent a Meadville player to the floor and Scott Central fans to their feet.

Porter finished with eight points on just 3 of 5 shooting two days after scoring 22 points in the semifinal against Stanberry. He also added five steals, three assists and three rebounds in a win that gave the younger Porter his first state championship and their family's sixth combined.

"It means a lot," said Porter. "It means I can come up here with my team and do what we know we can do and come up here and get a win."

Porter said the comparisons to his family don't bother him and that he feels no pressure to become the "next great Porter." It's something he knows will always be around but he's grown accustomed.

"I know I can do whatever I can do to get the win," Porter said. "I'm used to it."

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