SUGAR HILL — Region 8-AAAAAA champions, the Lanier Longhorns hosted South Paulding during the first round of the Class AAAAAA boys basketball playoffs. The Longhorns dominated the Spartans ending the game with a score of 71-43 on Wednesday night at the Ranch.

Lanier came into this game after winning a close region championship game against a very tough Shiloh team. The Longhorns have been on their “revenge tour” all season looking to redeem themselves after losing the state championship game in overtime last year.

“It’s always exciting to be back in the playoffs. It’s a testament to their hard work. I am just thankful the season is still going on,” said Lanier head coach Branden Mayweather.

Lanier’s offense was led by Justin Birch who put 18 points on the board. Senior Andrew McConnell was second with 16 points while Jayce Nathaniel contributed with 14 points for the Longhorns.

The energy inside of the Lanier High School gymnasium was electric as the cheerleaders led the spectators into a stomp cheer.  Lanier teammates on the sidelines cheered jumping up and down as their teammates on the court would make a good play. Players on the sidelines radiated pride and joy at the accomplishments of their teammates on the court.

“They are an extremely close-knit group,” said Mayweather. “You can have teams that don’t have that but when your teams have that and genuinely want to see each other succeed, it’s just a special group. That’s the reason they are so successful.”

Lanier (19-6) will look to continue their “revenge tour” when they host Wheeler (23-5) in the second round of the state playoffs.  Date and time TBD.

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