After nearly four years, the Sanford Warriors boys basketball squad has been dethroned. The Warriors failed to win their fourth consecutive State Championship on Saturday afternoon, falling to Howard 81-62.

Howard showed they weren’t intimidated from the tip-off on Saturday building an early 10-point lead on Sanford.  Behind Tyaire Ponzo-Meek’s game-high 25-points, the Wildcats were able to jump on the Warriors early, making Sanford play catch-up the entire game.

Coming into Saturday’s Championship game Sanford was considered the favorite to win their fourth consecutive championship. However, Howard came into the contest with a clear game-plan and they executed it to perfection.

The Warriors would do their best to respond in the second stanza, but were unable to put a dent in the Wildcat lead.  Howard’s offense was tough to stop, as their ball movement and composure allowed for plenty of wide-open looks at the basket.

In the second half, the Warriors would try to get back into things behind Anthony Mosley and Todd Hughes who led Sanford with 19 points apiece.

However, Howard continued to execute behind the strong play of Ponzo-Meek, Gjaimeir Stanford and Larry Woody. Woody and Stanford finished with 31 points combined for the Wildcats.

After three quarters, Howard led 55-40.

In the fourth and final quarter, Howard would leave no room for a come-back, scoring a game-high 26 points in the quarter to preserve the win.

Howard’s win breaks Sanford’s three-year reign as State Champions and also marks the first time a public school has won the title since 2009.