The Lakers, a local AAU traveling basketball team of 13 and under players, didn't make it to the championship game like they were hoping to do at the Dearing gym last Saturday night.
The reason: They were upended by Brown and Suns of Augusta 61-50 and eliminated from the tournament. The Brown and Suns team was led by Daniel Lindsey, a sixth-grader at Glenn Hills Middle School in Augusta, who scored 38 points, including a pair of three-point baskets.
Earlier in the day, the Lakers defeated The Truth by 2 points and lost by the same margin to Putnam County.
The Lakers, who are coached by Tim Daniels and James Lowe, got off to a dandy start, scoring points quickly, while making some fine defensive plays that prevented the Brown and Suns' team from hitting baskets.
At the end of the first period, the Lakers held a 21-15 lead.
It wasn't long, however, before that quickness and good shooting dwindled down for the Lakers, as the Brown and Suns' team began making hoops and drawing closer and closer. With just over six minutes remaining in the second period, the Brown and Suns' team took the lead for the first time in the game, 23-22. And they never looked back.
"It really boiled down to a mental game," said Coach Daniels, a former assistant basketball coach at Thomson High School and now working as a route salesman for Sara Lee Bakery Group in Augusta. "We played a tough team, but we could have beaten them."
By halftime, the Brown and Suns' team led 31-26.
Just as the second half began, the Suns buried a quick three-pointer, which increased their lead margin by 8 points, 34-26.
Coach Henry Brown's Augusta team continued to assault the Lakers, as they established a 12-point lead, 40-28 with 4:37 left to play in the third period. By the end of that period, the Suns held a commanding 48-34 lead.
At one point in the fourth period, the Suns led by as many as 16 points.
With 6:09 left, the Lakers drew to within six points on two different occasions, but two straight steals and baskets put the Suns back up by 10 points.
Scoring points for the Lakers were: Denzel Phillips, 16, Rashad Paschal, 13, Sams Sanchez, 9, Chris Tutt, 7 and Darius Turman, 3 points, respectively.