Lanierland No. 48 has come and gone and while the obvious kudos go to the North Hall girls team and East Hall boys team, there were some under-the-radar notables that shouldn’t go unmentioned.
Keeping with the (hopefully) impartial tone of these weekly ramblings, the following are in order of occurrence not likeability.
The Lakeview boys were beaten by 36 points Friday night in a semifinal matchup with East Hall and, no, that isn’t the notable!
The impressive thing about the game wasn’t the score or the offensive prowess of the Vikings, but the fight-till-the-end attitude of an overmatched and out-manned Lions squad.
They were diving on the floor for loose balls, pressing, stealing and trying with all their might to come back until the final buzzer.
If wishing made it so, a Lakeview team picture would be placed beside the word "lionhearted" in my dictionary, at least for a couple of days, because they epitomized the very meaning.
For anyone new to the basketball way of thinking, it’s common law in this world that defense wins championships.
This particular ideology was proved by the North Hall girls basketball team.
There’s no glory in getting through screens, bodying up a cutter so he or she isn’t open in the lane, or getting a deflection. Let’s face it, it’s always the one who hits the layup that gets their name in the paper, not the one that put their hand in the passing lane that caused the deflection that led to the steal that, well, you get the point.
With a will on defense matched by none, the Lady Trojans got to a championship game and won a title. I suppose whoever first coined the phrase, "defense wins championships," knew what they were talking about.
Notable No. 3? Parker Smith having 47 points in a loss — who does that? And he followed that performance up with 31 points against Lakeview. The funny thing about Mr. Smith is that he doesn’t take a lot of shots. Maybe that’s scary instead of funny, but either way, wow!
For those that didn’t attend the festivities at Valhalla on Saturday night, shame on you. I can almost say with certainty that, other than the state tournament, there is no greater atmosphere for high school basketball in the state than the Lanierland finals — especially the Lanierland finals at East Hall High when both the school’s teams are playing.
I got chills, and we all know how hot it was in that gym, when East Hall’s Tierra Benton tied the score on a putback and was fouled in the process.
If you weren’t there, let me say this: The Lady Vikings hadn’t been playing all that well and it was a result of North Hall playing extremely well, but that moment, the emotion, the passion, the defeaning roar of the crowd, the players jumping off the bench was a quintessential Lanierland moment only overshadowed by my fifth and final notable.
East Hall’s Trevor Bishop diving for the ball twice in the backcourt to ensure a 10-second violation and give his team the ball back at a pivotal moment in the Vikings’ win over Flowery Branch.
The reaction by his coach and teammates weren’t the result of a dunk or shot, but of someone throwing their body to the ground for the good of a team.
The fist-pumping, jumping up and down and hollering weren’t the result of a third-straight 3-pointer or 47 points, but instead the result of someone sacrificing themselves for a championship.
If that’s not notable I don’t know what is.