Sion James

MACON — A record-setting year ends just shy of being an epic one when the Lanier boys basketball team comes up just three points short of winning the GHSA AAAAAA State Championship title.  For the fourth consecutive postseason game, the Longhorns faced their opponents in overtime on Saturday, March 6, 2020, when they took on Chattahoochee in the final game at the Macon Centreplex.  The Cougars were able to take the win with a final score of 69-66.

This year’s team has set records at Lanier for the furthest the boys basketball team has made it into the playoffs. The victories didn’t come easy to Lanier (26-6) but throughout the regular season and the postseason they never gave up fighting to the last second at times.

Lanier’s missed shots would ultimately cause them their chance at a first-ever state title as they would hit 22 out of 57 baskets to Chattahoochee’s 21 out of 46 attempts.  The Cougars hit 21 out of 27 free throw attempts whereas Lanier only made 16 out of 26 at the line.

Despite Lanier’s numerous missed baskets, they kept pace with Chattahoochee (25-7) going into halftime only behind by three points. The Longhorns came back from the half with a renewed purpose defending their goal effectively.  Lanier kept Chattahoochee’s offense suppressed while the Longhorns offense led by senior point guard Sion James came alive. Lanier ended the third quarter with a 47-40 lead over the Cougars.

Sion JamesCameron Sheffield rallied the Cougars taking the lead 56-53 with 2:31 left on the clock. Two free throws from James would tie up the game at 56-all with 34 seconds left.  Lanier would hold off Chattahoochee to take the game into familiar territory for the Longhorns, overtime.

Overtime was another battle that saw Lanier come up just one 3-pointer short loosing 69-63.

Lanier’s boys basketball team should hold their heads high. They were often the underdogs yet they had tenacity that served them well. The team accomplished something that no boys basketball team before them had done at Lanier.

Feel proud boys of your accomplishments this season. Your community is proud of you.


Alicia joined the North Gwinnett Voice, as the Editor, shortly after the first publication. She is a homegrown Buford native, with the southern charm and "bless your heart" included. ...

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