The Laney High School men's basketball team won the 2-A state championship over the weekend. (WRDW-TV / March 12, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, March 12, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There was certainly a buzz in the halls of Lucy C. Laney High School as the star players headed back to class on Monday. You could feel the excitement in the air.
They're used to applause on the court, but now the whole student body is standing behind the State Champion Laney Wildcats.
"These young men proved that you can be talented, but when you work hard and you're talented ... success is inevitable," said Laney Head Coach Jerry Hunter.
Hunter calls it a season against all odds, where these teenagers made it happen.
"A lot of people doubted us, but I knew we could pull it through and win the state," said Senior Center Shaquille Cook.
"All the hard work have paid off. We worked real hard for this," added Senior Guard Daniel Harris.
"We've got a special group of guys that work together all year long but had the same dream of winning a state championship and we all believe in each other," explained Senior Guard Raheem Newton.
"We champions man, we champions. We brought it back home," said Senior Guard Jammie West.
After making it to the semifinals for two straight years, this team could taste the trophy.
And everyone wants to get in on the action.
"There's a lot of excitement. Laney has one of the strongest alumni associations in this city, probably in this state," Brown said.
It's a victory this team hopes will be a win for the city of Augusta, too.
"It takes your mind off the negative and it makes you feel good to know that young black males -- or just the youth, period -- that are still focusing and are still trying to do something with their life. It makes us feel good to know that we made it that far," West said.
"We've got some things that we've got to address in our community and I'm hoping that this championship here ignites a flame that maybe we can get somethings positive moving," Hunter said.
"It's a great feeling as a whole, as a community to know that we brought something back to Augusta," West said.
The team has a busy few weeks ahead. The school is planning a pep rally and parade for them. Commissioners are honoring them next week at their meeting. There will also be a banquet in the coming months where they will receive those precious state title rings.