CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Jacob King let out a smile that his coach and others will long remember as the final seconds ticked away in the Region 6-AAA boys' basketball championship game.
The Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe Warriors rallied behind their senior King, who scored 18 points in Monday's 58-47 victory over a host North Murray squad that had beat them on the same court by 20 points on Jan. 21.
The motivated Warriors led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. Freshman budding star Brent Bowman was an igniter and finisher, as he scored nine first-quarter points and added 10 in the fourth quarter.
"I remember when they told me I couldn't play after they found something wrong with my heart," said King, who recently was cleared to play again. "I kept my teammates' heads up the whole time, though. I told them if I came back, we are winning region.
"I knew we could do it. We have an amazing team. We have worked hard every practice, through ups and downs and injuries. We worked and never stopped. That's what has pushed us this far."
LFO (23-4) was in full control from start to finish in its opponent's gym, where King crashed to the floor after making a tough layup to build a 27-15 lead in the second quarter.
King also helped put the lead back to double figures as he hit Zach Coots down low with a quick and precise pass for two of his eight points in the final two minutes.
"This is a culmination of events, goals being reached, and it's pure joy," Warriors coach Josh Laney said. "I am happy for the kids. They have worked hard and really battled through so much adversity. Seeing them have this and for our seniors, I couldn't be happier."
Setting an example for his younger teammates who have loads of potential, King hopes to help push them to great heights.
LFO will begin play in the state tournament at home Saturday with its opponent and time still to be determined.
"We wanted to bring home the championship for Catoosa County and our fan Lance," King said. "He is a huge fan of ours, and we love him. We played hard until the final buzzer sounded."
Sonoraville 53, Ringgold 43
Junior shooting guard Alexa Geary was a force all over the court, scoring a game-high 22 points and adding five steals to pace a second straight region championship for the Lady Phoenix.
Geary banked in the first two of her four 3-point baskets and also helped push the ball upcourt past a dangerous defense.
Ringgold (18-8) came in on a 12-game win streak in which it allowed more that 45 points just three times.
Sonoraville (22-6) also received a scoring burst from region player of the year Maliyah Parks, who scored eight quick points in the first half and displayed great control and toughness with strong finishes in the paint.
The Lady Tigers cut the deficit to seven points late and were led by high-energy guard Rachel Lopez with 12 points.
Abby Chambers helped put the game out of reach late with clutch free throws.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.