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Parkway (Louisiana) girls, 2024 guard Chloe Larry finish the job, repeat as champions: Buck's Ballpark

Coming off dramatic game-winning shot, Larry helps Lady Panthers earn another title

HAMMOND, LOUISIANA - Sure, the viral attention and the shout-out from prominent ESPN personalities were great. 

On the other hand, Chloe Larry still knew the job wasn’t finished. 

Much like the job wasn’t finished when the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team beat Russia. Or when San Francisco 49ers receiver Dwight Clark made “The Catch” to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Or when Duke pulled off a shocking upset against undefeated and seemingly invincible Nevada-Las Vegas in the 1991 Final Four.

Those teams still had one more game to play. So, too, did Larry and her Parkway Lady Panther teammates, two nights after Larry’s dramatic half-court buzzer beater to beat Walker in the Division I non-select semifinals turned Larry into a viral superstar.

Saturday night, the Lady Panthers finished the job, and they didn’t need a miracle shot from Larry or anyone else. They dominated from the second quarter on as Parkview repeated as Division I non-select state champions with a 57-29 win against Denham Springs at the University Center.

Parkway defeats Denham Springs: Live updates, score of Louisiana (LHSAA) girls basketball Division I non-select state championship (3/2/2024)

“I just had to forget about it and move on to the next one because that’s not going to win the next game,” said Larry, a senior guard. “You have to prepare, you have to keep going and keep pushing.”

Larry led all scorers with 20 points and made two 3-pointers. She was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

It capped what had been a memorable week for Larry, in more ways than one. Her dramatic buzzer-beating shot Thursday night was the top highlight on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, and she was even name-dropped by legendary ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt.

But again, though, Thursday’s heroics would be all for naught if Larry and the Lady Panthers fell short on Saturday.

Parkview trailed Denham Springs, 14-11, at the end of the first quarter. But the Lady Panthers opened the second quarter on an 11-0 run and never looked back.

They extended the lead to 32-18 late in the first half on back-to-back 3-pointers from Jayla James and Larry. Parkview then went up by 20 points in the third quarter and led by 25, 49-24, midway through the fourth.

Parkview coach Gloria Williams also knew that, after the heels of a dramatic win like Thursday, she had to remind her players they had one more game to play. Friday, she did that, and even the morning of the championship game.

“We had to reel them in a little bit. … That’s history, it’s done, it’s in the books,” Williams said. “We’ve got to refocus and if we don’t, then we’ll be state runner-ups as opposed to state champs and to hear that and know what that ultimate goal is, they locked in after that.

“As a matter of fact, (Saturday) morning, they got fussed at for being late for the bus.”

But beginning in the second quarter, the Lady Panthers began the inevitable celebration toward a repeat. They held Denham Springs to a combined 5-of-27 shooting from the field over the final three quarters.

Saturday’s win also may have been surprising for some who felt that Parkview may be destined for a rebuilding season after losing several starters, most notably current LSU freshman standout Mikaylah Williams. However, Gloria Williams noted the journey to get right back to Hammond started shortly after the Lady Panthers won last season’s title.

“Actually, we started shortly after spring break with our offseason workout for the kids that weren’t in track and field or in a second sport,” she said. “So we started prepping for the season shortly after this all year, and just having those discussions with the kids and knowing the mindset that they wanted to repeat, but at the end of the day, you can’t get from Day 1 to Day 365.

“You’ve got to work in between there to get here and we took it one workout at a time, one game at a time, one tournament at a time and that’s how we were able to get back.”

Larry was one of three Lady Panthers in double figures in Saturday’s win. Dakota Howard had 18 points and Savannah Wilson added 10. Both are juniors, and are two players Williams will be counting on for a potential “three-peat” next season.

As for Larry, she will be moving on to play at Tennessee Tech. She was asked after Saturday’s game what advice would she give to younger ballplayers, maybe someone that can achieve their own dream of having a play shown on ESPN.

“I would tell them to work hard, stay in the gym, never give up,” Larry said. “It’s going to be hard, there’s going to be times you’ll be battle-tested, the highest of lows, but you know you’ve got to stay strong, keep going and keep pushing.”

And maybe they, too, won't settle for just a memorable ESPN highlight and finish a season on top, too, cementing the legacy even further.

Photo of Parkway's Chloe Larry (from left), coach Gloria Williams and Dakota Howard

-- Buck Ringgold | | @SBLiveLA