Tanner sets Briarwood steals record

Published 2:50 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Former Briarwood Christian basketball star Gary Eubanks sat behind the Lions’ bench Friday and applauded as senior Carter Tanner tipped a pass in the air and came down with a steal against Jackson-Olin.

It was career steal No. 176, Tanner’s third in the game, and eight more than what Eubanks finished his playing career with in 1989. Eubanks’ 168 steals was one of many records that stood untouched for nearly two decades in the Briarwood history books, until Tanner passed it Dec. 9 at Montgomery Academy.

“One-by-one they’ve been going down,” said Eubanks, who still holds the assists record with 514. “It’s good to have it broken.”

Tanner first became aware of the record in the offseason and knew that it was approaching.

“I knew I was probably going to break it, but it really doesn’t matter much to me. I just want to win the game,” Tanner said.

Briarwood head coach Chris Laatsch said that’s why he’s glad the record belongs to Tanner.

“Carter’s an unbelievable kid,” Laatsch said. “It means even more that Carter broke it, because he doesn’t care about it. He’s not going to be out there talking about it. It’s neat that Gary is still here and was in the gym (Friday when Carter was recognized).”

But what impresses Eubanks and Laatsch most about Tanner is not his aggressiveness on the court, but the way he overcomes.

“It’s unbelievable what all he’s been through, and you’d never know unless you knew,” Laatsch said.

Tanner has emerged as the senior leader this season, largely because he has been forced to grow up fast at a young age.

His father Curtis suffered a spinal injury while the two were rafting in California five years ago. On top of that, he helps take care of his sister that has down syndrome, his mother who recently had back surgery and being best man for his brother whose fiancée has battled cancer.

“Pretty much every body in my family’s had problems, and that’s forced me to grow up more to help take care of the family,” Tanner said.

But even though there’s plenty of room for excuses, you won’t hear any from his mouth.

“Logically you’d think (basketball) would be an escape, but he just rolls with it … He’s been so much of a rock,” Laatsch said. “It would be remarkable for a kid to leave that stuff, come onto the floor and be able to play. It’s super remarkable that he can do all of that and still be a leader. It’s not about himself.”

Tanner said it���s about the team’s slogan when it breaks a huddle, “Together!”

When the team lost a handful of key players before the season, Tanner rallied the team together, and after a 2-2 start, he has Briarwood sitting at 11-5 headed into Christmas.