AA boys state championship: Laney 67, Manchester 53

The third time was charm for the Laney boys.

After making it the state semifinals for the third year in a row, Laney won the Class AA state championship with a convincing 67-53 win over Manchester on Saturday night.

It was the first-ever basketball state championship for the Laney boys (28-4), which had four players score in double figures: Jammie West with 20, Daniel Harris with 12, and Shaquille Cook and Glenn Rodriquez with 10 each.

“It’s an accomplishment, and these guys, man … they really, really, really displayed courage and heart,” Laney coach Jerry Hunter said.

‘After making it to the Final Four twice [and losing in the semifinals], we made sure to let them to know our goal was to make it the state championship this year. Then once we did that, we told them getting to the state championship and not winning it is not enough.

“We let them know they could make history for Laney High School. And they did.”

Laney overwhelmed Manchester with its pressure defense and athleticism. Manchester (23-3), which knocked off two-time defending state champion GAC in the quarterfinals, struggled offensively until it was too late.

“We came in knowing that Laney was a physical team, and they were; they really took it to us,” Manchester coach Curtis Echols said. “They played really good defense. Laney has been here three years in a row. They really showed like they wanted it, and played like it tonight.”

Laney had a comfortable 10-point lead at halftime and expanded it 20 points in the fourth quarter by the time Manchester got a spark on offense. Manchester’s Zay Echols scored a game-high 29 points, including five 3-pointers and a total of 17 points in the final period. No other Manchester player finished with more than 4 points.

With 3:03 left in the fourth quarter, Echols drilled a 3-pointer that banked off the backboard to cut Laney’s lead to 56-48 but Manchester never got closer.

“We never quit,” Echols said. “I challenged them right there to keep fighting. I’m proud of them for coming back and fighting like they did.”

“Manchester is a real good ballclub,” Hunter said. “We were waiting for that run. We made sure we had that cushion before they made their run. And thank God we had a 20-point lead when they started knocking down 3’s.”

Laney won the state championship with only one returning starter from last year, point guard Raheem Newton.

16 comments Add your comment

Mr. Bell95

March 10th, 2012
9:54 pm

Ok, so no posts now that the title is not in qwinnett, atlanta, or south georgia….. For a long time, east georgia gets no love and when they win its crickets…. Great job Laney boys basketball….


March 10th, 2012
10:36 pm

Congratuations to the Lucy C Laney Wildcats!!


March 10th, 2012
11:21 pm

manchester really did play a good defense & a offense but im proud that manchester went and represented wat we do down here and how it goes down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We LoVe YoU BlUe DeViLs


March 10th, 2012
11:58 pm

This is so sweet! Congratulation to Coach Hunter and the Team for a profound and uplifting victory.
I knew we were capable of winning the state championship, Thanks!


March 11th, 2012
12:42 am


March 11th, 2012
1:42 am

Finally….all those years I cheered for other teams, because our`s was`nt good enough to make it….now 2012…..we finally put one in the books. There are no words to explain how I feel right now. The sun has shined on us for A change! I never thought the day would come, or knew if I would be alive to see it happen. Thank you ,Thank you, Thank you Laney Wildcats….I`m so proud!

Laney 1fan

March 11th, 2012
7:30 am

Congrats Cats, so proud of you!!!


March 11th, 2012
11:01 am

Laney Lady Wildcats,….I`m proud of you as well. All we can ask for is for you to play your best with the talent we have……and we do ….all the time. We may not have won the ring yet but……we are one of the state`s most prolific powerhouse teams. We are to be reckoned with…….that just did`nt come overnight…..and for that …..I`m proud and stick my chest out. Love ya!


March 11th, 2012
5:18 pm

I gotta say …all of you Laney coaches came out in the Macon Centreplex sharp and clean as A whistle. Dressed in your black suits all together…..you certainly looked the part of champions. You had real class! Thanks Laney….I can`t say enough about the History you made.

Washington, DC Laney alum

March 11th, 2012
5:25 pm

Way to go Wildcats, I have been flying in for the past 4 years to the final four to support both the boys and girls, and now, our boys are STATE Champs. Congrats from Lucy C. Laney, Class of 81

LCL Class of '78

March 12th, 2012
10:45 am

Congratulations to our Lucy Laney Wildcats…you made us proud!


March 12th, 2012
1:07 pm

This was the best game of the night. CHS and WACO girls were best game too!

Laney C/O 95

March 12th, 2012
6:37 pm


Grandmas Grill Food For Soul

March 13th, 2012
6:50 am

Great….As Tony the tiger would say. Now let’s make the rings happen ! CALL ME 7067550444 (BKA)SKINMAN CLASS OF 82 DR. MASON LET’S GO!

Sophia Echols

March 13th, 2012
6:03 pm

Congradulations to manchester Blue devils the team played hard! congradulations to my son Zay Echols for playing your heart out you really wanted that championship and you are a champion in my book Who else score 29 Points in a Game !!!!!!!!!!

Grandmas Grill Food For Soul

March 15th, 2012
6:43 am

To all Laney family & friends remember this .Champions play with champions !………. CLASS/82