BUFORD — The Herd was out in force at the Buford City Arena on Friday night to watch the Lanier boys basketball team compete in the GHSA AAAAAA State Semifinals against South Cobb. The Longhorns would rally from behind forcing an epic 63-57 win in overtime against the Eagles.
South Cobb (28-3) would thoroughly dominate Lanier 29-16 going into the second half. After halftime, it seemed like Lanier (26-5) was going to pull up even with the Eagles, however, South Cobb would fight back making it 45-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Lanier’s defense was formidable in the fourth quarter where they allowed South Cobb to score just six points and forced eight turnovers to turn the game in their favor. The Longhorns would score 17 points to just two points for the Eagles up to the 2:05 mark. Senior Sion James would tie up the game at that point with 47 all. South Cobb would score next but would cancel that out by a foul on James which he took advantage of and sank both balls tying the score again.
South Cobb chose to commit a foul against Iajah Phillips. Phillips would get both balls in the basket with just seven seconds remaining on the clock. The Longhorns would lead for the first time in the game 51-49 over the Eagles. South Cobb’s Robert Dix managed to score at the buzzer forcing the game into overtime. Lanier is no stranger to overtime play this postseason as the last two games they played were forced into OT.
Once again Lanier’s defense paved the way for Lanier to pull ahead of South Cobb 58-51 with 37 seconds remaining on the clock. South Cobb would nail their coffin shut by allowing too many fouls against James and Andrew McConnell. James and McConnell would go 4-for-4 at the free-throw line in OT.
James would finish the night with 26 points, the highest for the Longhorns and 11 rebounds. McConnell would contribute 19 points for Lanier. Iajah Phillips would score 10 points, get five rebounds and three assists against South Cobb.
Lanier’s first-ever appearance in the GHSA State AAAAAA Finals will take place on Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m. at the Macon Centerplex against Chattahoochee.