The Dawson County Lady Tigers were a team this season that utilized the skills of many players, from freshmen to seniors.
That type of cohesion didnt happen by accident, said head coach Steve Sweatit happened because the senior players accepted their roles and then accepted the younger players into their group.
An uncommon bond emerged, which led to an uncommon basketball season.
It led Dawson County to its first trip to the State Championship game in 22 years.
Although the Lady Tigers finally met their match in the form of a resilient St. Pius team, Dawson County concluded its season with a 27-6 record and lots of memories.
Although some of his players were not very excited about receiving a Runner-up medal, the coach reminded them that it will one day bring back memories of a great season.
Sweat knows from experience, as he led the 1991 team to the Finals.
But this season, the coach added, almost feels like going to the Championship for the first time all over again since it is with a new generation of players.
And to be able do it in Dawson County where they rally behind you is a dream come true, Sweat added.
A huge crowd of Dawson County fans traveled to Macon and rallied behind their team as the Lady Tigers battled St. Pius X Catholic High School from Atlanta.
Although the Golden Lions jumped out to an 11-1 advantage after the first three minutes, the Lady Tigers clawed their way back to take the lead in the second quarter.
A rebound by Kenna Seitz followed by Sheyenne Seabolts three-pointer gave Dawson County a 21-19 lead with six minutes to go until halftime as the Lady Tigers fans shook the Macon Centreplex with cheers.
But St. Pius sank their own three-pointer to grab the lead right back.
Led by sophomore star Asia Durr, the Golden Lions finished the half on a 20-6 scoring run to put Dawson County down 39-27.
Plagued by too many turnovers and inconsistent shooting, the Lady Tigers saw St. Pius pull away for a 77-55 win to capture the Championship.
Youth appeared not to be a factor in the pressure-packed game as a pair of sophomores led Dawson County.
Post player Ashley Parker had a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds, while Sheyenne Seabolt finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
Senior Carly Gilreath concluded her memorable varsity career with 14 points, three assists and three steals.
Senior Allie Costley finished with five points and senior Kenna Seitz grabbled five rebounds.
Hannah Porter, Whitney Glover and Kacie Bearden also walked off the court for the final time to the cheers of the massive Dawson County fan section.
As the Golden Lions received their trophy, the Lady Tigers stayed close by and showed sportsmanship to their competitors, something that didnt surprise coach Sweat, who said he has received many compliments on the team since they returned home from Macon.
The Lady Tigers end the season ranked as the No. 3 team in the state in Class AAA behind St. Pius (30-3) and Buford (25-5).
In addition, the experience of playing in the State Finals is likely to be a benefit for the returning players on Dawson Countys roster.
Now they know the feeling, coach Sweat said, of being able to nearly reach the ultimate goal in high school basketball.