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Laney routs Manchester for its first state title

Laney 67, Manchester 53

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MACON, Ga. — Raheem Newton couldn’t help but keep looking across the court to the first row.

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Laney players celebrate after it defeated Manchester for the Class AA state championship at the Macon Coliseum on Saturday.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Laney players celebrate after it defeated Manchester for the Class AA state championship at the Macon Coliseum on Saturday.

TEAM PAGE: Laney Wildcats

Sitting there was his half brother, Rod Hall, a star on the previous year’s team. Hall – like other members of prior Laney boys basketball teams – had fallen short of the ultimate goal.

But as Newton followed the other starters to the bench amidst cheers from players and fans, he got a hug from coach Jerry Hunter. They all knew it: the Wildcats wouldn’t have to wait another year.

The clock soon ran out and Laney had finally done it, not only for themselves but also for people part of Laney’s past.

“I was dedicating it to him,” Newton said about Hall. “I did it for all the teams in the past, all of Laney’s basketball teams.”

The Wildcats basked in the euphoric moment as Laney beat Manchester, 67-53, Saturday at the Macon Coliseum to win the Class AA state championship.

The Wildcats survived a deluge of Blue Devils 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to claim the title.

Laney, which lost in the state semifinals the past two seasons, trailed only once on Saturday – and that was at 2-0. The Wildcats opened up a double-digit lead in the first quarter and were up by 25 in the fourth period.

Jammie West got the Wildcats off to a quick start, scoring 11 of the game’s first 13 points. He drilled three 3-pointers in the opening period and scored a team-high 20 points.

Besides showing patience on offense and limiting turnovers, the Wildcats also kept the Blue Devils off the glass as their lead grew. Most Manchester offensive trips ended after one shot or a turnover.

A 10-point halftime edge ballooned to 25 in the fourth, with Shaquille Cook helping his team clean up inside on both sides of the floor and teammates using good ball movement to score inside, including impressive dishes from West and Newton.

“It’s a Mother’s Day gift to Miss Laney, from us,” Wildcats coach Jerry Hunter said.

However, instead of coasting to glory, Laney had to survive.

Led by Zay Echols, the Blue Devils started firing 3s – and it seemed all of them started to go in.

Manchester drilled six 3s in a rally push, closing to within eight at 56-48.

However, with its championship hopes now in doubt, Laney persevered.

The Wildcats’ defense tightened – the Blue Devils missed nine of their last 10 3-pointers as they hurried to get as many shots up as possible in the closing minutes – and Newton was clutch at the line with nine fourth-quarter free throws.

“I can’t believe it, but we knew it was going to happen,” said a smiling West.

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csraguy
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csraguy 03/11/12 - 01:33 am
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Congratulations Coach Hunter

Congratulations Coach Hunter and all of the young men on the Laney High School basketball team. Job well don.

So, what can we do as a community to help them with their state rings or will that be taken care of?

cameoque
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cameoque 03/11/12 - 06:57 am
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Congratultaions Coach Hunter

Congratultaions Coach Hunter and the Laney Wildcats!!!

cameoque
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cameoque 03/11/12 - 06:58 am
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Congratulations!!Lol

Congratulations!!Lol

justputtin
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justputtin 03/11/12 - 07:40 am
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Awesome!!!

Awesome!!!

Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/11/12 - 09:14 am
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I watched the game. They were

I watched the game. They were much better than Manchester and had a huge lead until those unbelieveable 3 pointers started to fall. I've never seen anything like that. Still the best team won. Congrats.

willie33
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willie33 03/11/12 - 03:30 pm
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Congratulations Laney

Congratulations Laney Wildcats!! I am very proud of your Championship season. I want to say for the class of 1977 You truly are the PRIDE OF AUGUSTA!

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 03/11/12 - 04:21 pm
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Really?? This is their first

Really?? This is their first ever state basketball title? With as rich of a history as Laney has had in basketball, I sure would've thought they've done it before. No matter! They've got one NOW, and that's all that counts! Good for Laney and thanks to them for putting Augusta out there for the entire state to recognize!

Jewel423
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Jewel423 03/11/12 - 06:20 pm
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Congratulations Lucy C Laney

Congratulations Lucy C Laney Wildcats!

the compromiser
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the compromiser 03/11/12 - 09:40 pm
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As one of the Play by Play

As one of the Play by Play announcers for the Wildcats Football and Basketball Teams, I knew that this would be the year for them to break the glass ceiling that eluded this school for all of those year. To sum up this season is very simple. Each and every player that was on the floor or the bench believed in each other. They knew it had to come from a team effort and not just one or two. I've been apart of this team for the last three years and I cheered when they won and hurted when they lost. After the Championship game in Macon, it seemed as though a heavy basketball was lifted off of my chest. In the community, I would have to put up with "Haters" that wanted the wildcats to be losers but this year they made me proud. The Laney Wildcats are now Champions of the Basketball World of Georgia.

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