The Georgia Lakers defeated Burke County 61-55 in a benefit basketball game at Thomson High School last Saturday.
Leading the way for the Lakers, a traveling team made up of Thomson Middle School players ages 14 and under, was Felton Hatcher with 18 points. He was followed by Ryan Kelly with 15 points.
An estimated 700 supporters attended the game to raise money for the youth team, as well as the varsity boys' basketball team at THS. The Lakers are coached by Tim Daniels, Sr., and James Lowe, Jr.
At halftime, the Lakers led 44-37. During one point in the third period, it looked as though the Lakers might stage a big victory over the visitors from Waynesboro, as they built up a nine-point lead, 49-40. It followed a basket by the Lakers' Steven Cobb with 6:53 left in the third.
Less than two minutes later, the Burke County team had managed to bounce right back, cutting the Lakers' lead to 50-48. The Lakers' Ryan Kelly later intercepted a pass and was fouled in the process. He connected on one of two free-throws to put his team up by three points, 51-48.
Both teams later traded baskets - the Lakers' hoop being made by Kelly, who figured prominently in his team's win. Up 53-50 with 3:26 left in the game, Kelly stole the ball from a Burke player and went the length of the court to make a lay-up shot that gave the Lakers a five-point lead.
Two more Lakers' players - Felton Hatcher and Rashad Paschal - made crucial baskets down the stretch.
Other Lakers players scoring in the game aside from Hatcher and Kelly included: Rashad Paschal, 7; Frank Brinson, 7; Marquel Gibbons, 5; Steven Cobb, 5; and Quan Sturgis, 5 points, respectively.