Their Marietta girls basketball team pulled the upset of the first round of the Georgia state tournament last weekend when Courtney, a sophomore point guard, made a 3-pointer for the lead with 4.5 second left in a 44-43 victory over Parkview (Lilburn), ranked No. 2 in Georgia’s Class AAAAA.
Parkview entered the game 28-0.
‘‘Geez, no, I can’t say there has been (a better moment) personally or professionally, not one single moment like that,’’ Ken Sprague said. "As a whole game, we’ve done some stuff, but a one-shot deal, no.’’
A year ago, Marietta was the runner-up in Class AAAAA, only to hear that the real championship game was played two days earlier in the semifinals when Parkview lost to Redan 63-62.
Redan (Stone Mountain), ranked No. 11 nationally by MaxPreps, went on to blow out Marietta 64-40 and hasn’t lost since. Its winning streak stands at 55.
This season, Redan and Parkview were thought to be headed for a championship showdown. But Sprague believes Marietta’s run to the finals last year was vindicated in the victory Saturday, even if it was essentially a new team.
"A lot of times, it’s the matchups,’’ Sprague said. "If we’d played Parkview (in 2009), I think we would’ve won to tell you the truth. With Redan, we weren’t as thrilled to be playing them for some reason. But there was a reason we got to the final. We deserved it.’’
This season, Marietta was just the No. 4 seed from 5-AAAAA coming off back-to-back losses in its region tournament. Marietta lost all five starters from its 2009 runner-up team including Telia McCall, a 6-foot-1 post player now at Virginia.
This team has one of the nation's biggest front lines with 6-3 junior Lauren Webster, 6-3 junior Dearica Hamby (14 points per game, 8.5 rebounds) and 6-1 sophomore Kiana Hayes (18 points against Parkview).
Marietta also is remarkable in its inexperience. Hamby, who is being recruited by several major Division I programs, hadn't played basketball since the sixth grade when she decided to try out for the high school team last season. Webster picked up the sport as a freshman.
Sprague thinks this team has the same potential as last season’s.
‘’It does, but we’re so young,’’ he said. "Last year, we had five seniors out there playing together since the seventh grade. For this team, the effort and mental preparation has to be more consistent.’’