On Friday afternoon when folks from all sides of this county are making their way to East Hall’s gym for the semifinals of Lanierland, conversations will take place.
For those first-timers, the experience has yet to be experienced, and while ignorance is bliss, it compares not to the bliss of watching your team defy expectations, beat a rival or hoist a trophy — a trophy naming them the best team in Hall County.
For those first timers the conversation will lean towards the 46 points Parker Smith put up against West Hall.
"Boy’s killin ’em," you’ll say. "I wonder what Flowery Branch has up its sleeve to limit his shots?"
For those first-timers the conversation will be about the Gainesville girls and how they recover from a lackluster performance against Johnson, how they handle not having starting point guard Kiana Glasper when they face the pressure of North Hall’s Elizabeth Williams on Friday.
For the novices, the conversation will be about the Lakeview boys.
"They play with the heart and soul of someone out to prove something," you’ll say. "You see that (David) Pruett kid?"
You’ll talk about Falcons, War Eagles, Lions, Vikings, Trojans and Red Elephants.
You’ll talk about Flowery Branch’s ability to choke an offensive until it suffocates.
"How about that third quarter against Gainesville? These boys are the real deal," you’ll say.
You’ll talk about Ken Wise, Jaymee Carnes, East Hall’s offense, Mollie May and Jessica Hart, and how it should be your team in the semis. How if it weren’t for this one play, rebound, basket or quarter, your team would the one playing this weekend.
Conversations will be had somewhere about Joe Dix coaching against his mentor Seth Vining, and how two sets of athletes can make the same style of play look so different.
Conversations will be had about a basketball version of the expansion bowl, between Flowery Branch and Chestatee.
Can the War Eagles keep Izaan Cross off the boards? Can the Falcons’ press stifle a team with a true point guard?
"A.C. Bailey didn’t do much against Gainesville," you’ll say, "that probably doesn’t bode well for Chestatee."
Will Sada Wheeler dominate and will the sheer size of the East Hall girls be too much for the much shorter Lady Falcons?
For those of us that have been around a while, the conversations will harken back to the days when the legends were young girls and boys and first rose to the occasion, first captured our attention.
It’s these people and these coaches that keep the old coming back and the new interested.
Cris Carpenter, Brian Hall, Chezley Watson, April Martin, Jackie Smith, the Causey brothers, Brent Benson, Seth Vining, Tasha Humphrey, Glenn Cassell, Mahogany Hudson, Lindsay Palmer, Zac Swansey, Jamarco Warren, Martrez Milner, Jerry Davis, Angie Adams, Brenda Hill ... the list goes on and on.
The shots made, the rebounds grabbed, the deflections that turned into steals.
Our teams defying expectations, beating rivals and hoisting trophies; trophies naming them the best team in Hall County.
Happy Lanierland everyone!