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story.lead_photo.caption Kaiden Hunter holds the Ashdown, Ark., Panthers' 3A state championship trophy Friday during the parade to celebrate the basketball team's victory after beating Drew Central Pirates in Hot Springs. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

The Ashdown High School basketball state champions were honored with a parade Friday afternoon, which included eight four-wheel drive pickups clean, polished and shining—just like the pride of the Panthers.

The parade was guided by the Panther band through the neighborhoods surrounding the high school with drums beating in the cool and clear weather.

Ashdown defeated Drew Central 69-40 to win the 3A boys state basketball championship game March 8.

For the first time, the senior boys won the state championship, head basketball coach James Smith said.

"The boys played hard and the results were different this year," said Smith.

"The parade was nice for the community and school to show their support. It showed the boys when you do a good job, the community will support you," said Smith.

"It has been just like a dream," he said.

It was a community effort to teach the players how to play basketball, said Ashdown High School Principal Kay York Wortham.

"The parade is a great way to share recognition of a community effort. Parents, grandparents and coaches had practiced with these boys for years," said Wortham.

"It has been a concerted effort throughout the years. This didn't happen overnight," she said.

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