MACON, Ga. — With their memorable season done, the Lucy C. Laney High School girls stepped onto the podium on the court.
They got a good look at their shiny, well-earned trophy – but it was the one they didn’t want.
The Lady Wildcats fell short of winning their first Georgia High School Association state basketball title, losing to Wesleyan, 76-43, on Friday in the Class AA state championship at the Macon Centreplex. The Lady Wolves have now won a state
title in six consecutive seasons.
“I don’t feel bad as a coach,” Laney coach Otis Smart said. “I’m proud of them. It was a tremendous run.”
A year after the boys team won its first GHSA crown, the girls advanced all the way to the final.
Wesleyan forced 31 turnovers and got 28 points from Katie Frerking. Laney’s deficit ballooned from five at the half to as much as 34.
Khadijiah Cave was the only Laney player to reach double figures in points, getting 10. The Baylor-bound Cave also had 12 rebounds and four blocks before she fouled out.
After walking off the court for the final time as a Lady Wildcat, Cave buried her face and tears behind her jersey and her hands as she sat on the bench in the closing minutes.
The Lady Wildcats finished the year 30-1, extending their streak of state semifinal appearances to five. Only this time did they make it to the title game – a progression that senior Simone Smith hopes will continue as she tried to keep the team positive.
“I just told (Cave), ‘Keep your head up. Since your ninth-grade year, we’d lose in the final four – then we made it to this championship,’ ” Smith said. “So I said, ‘The next team out there may just win state. And we’re going to be here to support.’ ”