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FCS Winning Weekend at GHSA Championships
When the Westlake High Lady Lions defeated Carrollton 64 to 46 in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) 6A finals, they made history. “Winning four straight state championships by the Westlake Girls Basketball program will cement this program as one of the most dominant basketball programs in Georgia history,” said Dr. Steven Craft, Fulton County Schools (FCS) Director of Athletics. “It is a testimony to the players, coaches, administration, and the community for their commitment to excellence. The seniors will end their careers with a 110-2 overall record with a 98-0 record against other teams in the state of Georgia.”
Westlake principal Jarvis Adams, who took over after the untimely death of Principal Jamar Robinson, noted an additional motivation for the Lady Lions in 2021. “Our Ladies did not only play for a 4-peat, but they also fought to show themselves #RobinsonStrong,” Adams said.
Westlake Athletic Director Carl Green agrees. “We had some tremendous adversity this season between COVID-19 and the passing of our principal,” Green said. “These young ladies wanted to complete the fourth one in honor of him.”
In addition to the state championship win, senior Raven Johnson was named the 2021 Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Girls National Player of the Year. The award was presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Johnson will be honored later this year with a ceremony at Westlake. Johnson, who will attend the University of South Carolina after graduation, was also named Region 6A Player of the Year.
Dr. Craft salutes the Lady Lions for being consistent winners. “This basketball team was able to deal with the pressure of having the target on their backs every single night, and they answered that challenge every single time,” Dr. Craft said.
One of the winningest coaches in FCS history, Coach Hankerson was named Region 6A Coach of the Year. “Coach Hankerson is by far the winningest coach in Fulton County history for any sport,” Dr. Craft said. “She has the most wins of any FCS basketball coach, male or female.”
Always remembering teams past, Coach Hankerson is quick to include them in celebrating victories. “They are celebrated in my heart,” Hankerson said. “They are part of the legacy.”
Dr. Steven Craft may have predicted the fourth straight championship win in 2020 when he said, “If they stay healthy and hungry, they could win a fourth.”
No doubt the Lady Lions were healthy and hungry, and also returned seasoned seniors to the court. A grateful Coach Hankerson sums up the achievement in one sentence. “This historic win means that God’s hand has been on this program.”
When Milton High’s boys basketball team won the 2021 GHSA Class 7A championship, it was their third since 2010. The final score was Milton 52 and Lilburn 47. Milton’s win added to the momentum they had established this season. “Milton finished the season on a 26-game winning streak,” said Dr. Craft. “They competed against the best competition in the state and the country. Milton came into the season as the favorites in 7A, and they were able to deal with the nightly pressures of being ranked #1. The players, coaches, administration and the community should be applauded for this amazing accomplishment.”
Milton clinched their third region title in a row before heading to the championship game. “This season was about perseverance and sacrifice,” said Eagles Coach Allen Whitehart. “With COVID-19 and the changes in the normalcy that students have become accustomed to, we could stay locked in and finish the drill as state champions with a 28-2 record and 26-game winning streak!”
The wins by Westlake and Milton ensured that FCS has won two basketball championships each of the last four years. “FCS has had a boys team win six straight years and a girls team the last four,” Dr. Craft said. “Our coaches, players and schools do an amazing job of supporting and promoting our basketball teams in Fulton County.”
This news is just in!
Westlake and Milton have been invited to compete in the GEICO High School National Tournament March 31.