In the final chapter of the varsity Lady Tigers varsity basketball team's story, the city of Dawsonville decided to set aside a day just for the players.
During a luncheon in honor of the 2012-13 team on Sunday at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan proclaimed March 17, 2013, to be "Lady Tiger Day."
"Dawson County is blessed to have some of the finest coaches in the state of Georgia," Grogan said. "Not only do they coach sports, they coach life skills. And that's what's really important."
Grogan and the city council decided to set apart the day in honor of how the team drew together the community. While the Lady Tigers came in second place, they were still winners in the eyes of Dawson residents.
"The people in this community have walked up to me and told me ‘Thank y'all for giving the community something to be proud of.' It wasn't about winning or losing," said Lady Tiger head coach Steve Sweat. "I've had the joy and the pleasure that we got do this. It has been an honor to have the people in Dawson County behind this team."
Grogan said it was the hard work and determination that got the girls to the finals.
"There were no egos on that team. They worked hard, they practiced hard together and they set a goal and met - and exceeded - that goal," he said. "These folks are a testament to our community and we're lucky to have them as a part of it."
The girls exemplify Grogan's assessment of the team's attitude.
"I just love all the girls on the team," said senior Whitney Glover. "I never expected to make it as far as we did. It was a great way to end my senior year."
In senior Carly Gilreath's eyes, it wasn't an individual that got the Lady Tigers to the finals. It was the team as a whole.
"The team as a whole brought us as far as we got," Gilreath said. "I'm so proud of everyone and I'm thankful for every one of my teammates."
Senior Allie Costley agreed.
"I'm really proud of our team and all that we accomplished," Costley said.
Sweat said that, looking back, he was still in awe of how the community came together for the players.
"It's an honor to be in this community. I saw a sea of maroon at the [Savannah and Macon] games and I had to turn around," he said."I was going to get emotional and we were about to play a game. I decided then wasn't the time for that."