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Proud of Lady Tigers
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Sitting in the stands Saturday nearly 130 miles south of Dawsonville, there was no sign in sight of a sluggish economy, nearly $4 a gallon gas prices or high unemployment rates.

Everywhere you looked you saw someone you knew, decked out in maroon and gold, cheering on our Lady Tigers basketball team.

"We Believe" is what was on the back of many shirts, and what a fitting message it was. This community came out in droves to support these girls, not only in Macon, but also the week before in Savannah.

Fans caravanned to Atlantic Armstrong State University to watch their beloved Lady Tigers take on Southwest Macon in the semifinal round of the state tournament.

We all watched the hometown girls win in convincing fashion, 66-50. But more importantly, those young women saw a community that loves and supports them.

The community's support was so apparent in Savannah that a student from that area commented on the Dawson County fan base.

He asked: "Did y'all bring the whole town? Our team is from here and we didn't have this many people show up."

The local turnout was even stronger Saturday in Macon. Knowing that the game was going to be tough could not dampen spirits.

Said Lady Tiger Kacie Bearden: "Even when we were down by 20 points, [our fans] were supporting us and cheering for us and never gave up on us."

Though this team didn't bring home the state title, it has nothing to be ashamed of and much to celebrate.

This group of girls brought a community together and in the process built memories that will stay with them the rest of their lives. That is a victory in itself.

These girls are heroes to the younger generation. That much was evident during the send-offs that took place Friday at local elementary schools. Young fans lit up in awe as they got to high-five the departing Lady Tigers.

And what a group for the little ones to look up to, a team that has won and lost with both dignity and class.

Success like we've seen in recent years from our local athletic teams is about more than just a ball and a hoop, it is the essence of community.

It brings people together, no matter what else is going on. And more than the final score - that's something to be proud of.