As cheering fans welcomed the collection of Laney players, the message became clear: the celebrating hasn’t stopped yet.
The Laney boys basketball team’s victory in the Class AA state championship game was honored with a parade Saturday, as a line of vehicles representing different Laney graduating classes as well as the school band and basketball teams – among others – took part in the event.
All the parade participants waved to the supporters as they rode by, with most watchers centered on Laney-Walker Boulevard near the high school.
“This once again shows them and convinces them that discipline, hard work, integrity and principle are the keys to not only basketball championships, but to life,” said Wildcats coach Jerry Hunter, who served as the grand marshal. “A lot of people have been waiting for this moment.”
Wearing state championship t-shirts, the boys basketball players sat on a float and pointed
and waved to fans, family and friends.
The girls basketball team – off its fourth consecutive state semifinal appearance – followed soon after the boys team, with the school’s band marching through at the end.
A handful of graduating classes joined in the parade, from 1963 and 1972 to 1983 and 1987, and many graduates in the parade tossed candy to people lined up alongside the road.
“It’s just so special and humbling,” said Kim Lockett Holmes, who’s a member of the 1983 class and wore a t-shirt with this season’s team picture on the front. “With all the negativity in the world, they showed that you can do something positive. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
Hunter and the players have said this title wasn’t just for them, but for past Laney players and for Lucy C. Laney herself. Hunter described the parade as a birthday gift for Lucy C. Laney, who was born April 13, 1854.
For some, the parade and title were the culmination of decades of waiting for something this special.
“The boys brought back pride to the Augusta area,” said Moses Dunn, a 1963 graduate. “What this class did is give us pride. We’ve been looking for this moment.”