DAWSON -- Timber!
It's the sound you hear this time of year, the sound that seems to follow Terrell County's Greenwave, a team of gutsy, slick and savvy, no-quit kids and coaches, who believe in each other as much as they believe in anything.
It's the sound of another giant falling.
This time it was state power Lanier, a big, physical, fast team from Lakeland that saw its season end in the GHSA Class A Sweet 16 round of the state playoffs Wednesday in Dawson in front of a packed house that was on its feet early and often.
That's the sound of the Greenwave, moving on -- on to the next round of the state tournament, leaving yet another Goliath in their wake.
Terrell County 74, Lanier 63.
It's off to Columbus State and a berth in the Elite 8 against Turner County at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. It's the third trip in a row to the Elite 8 for the Greenwave.
"That's where we belong,'' said Super 6er point guard Terel Hall, who had another inspirational game for the Greenwave, setting the tone early with steals and drives, and putting it away late with the kind of composure coaches dream about.
"Terel is notorious,'' Terrell County coach John Davis said. "He gives me everything -- everything. I've seen guards at the college level, at D-1 and D-2 schools. They're 19 and 20 years old and they don't have the knowledge or the point-guard savvy that 17-year-old man has.
"And I mean man.''
Hall, who needed a ladder to see Lanier's big front line, grabbed the first two rebounds of the game and finished with seven boards, despite running the floor and the offense all night. He finished with 16 points, five steals and 11 assists, including at least a half dozen highlight tape passes.
You want a snapshot from this game?
Hall was running the show late in the fourth quarter, holding off Lanier. He had just driven the court and zipped a wicked pass inside to Dekoven Ware, who banked in a shot for a 67-58 lead with 2:36 left. On the next trip Hall was trying to run off some clock, but got trapped in the corner.
There he was, bottled up by two Lanier players, smothered deep in the court when somehow he sent a laser pass across to Ware, who was alone for the bucket and a 69-58 lead with 1:47 left that all but put it away.
"The ball looked like lightning coming out of his hands,'' said Ware, who finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, despite being much smaller than Lanier's big men inside. Ware stands at just 6-feet, but he's the epitome of this program.
After all, it seems everyone plays a little bigger for the Greenwave.
"That's probably the best team we've played all year,'' Ware said. "I knew they were big, and I knew coming into the game I had to get a lot of rest to get ready for their big boys.''
On Tuesday, Davis talked about facing Lanier and said softly: "They're another giant.''
Terrell County (25-3) slew enough giants last year in its march to the Final Four to last a while, and the Greenwave could be making another trip. They're one win away from getting back to Macon.
"You can tell they've been winning for a long time,'' Lanier coach Jared Garner said. "They never get rattled. You can tell they have been in a lot of big games. We're a young program and we're learning. That's where we want to be. They do (have a chance to go far). They have the look of a good Final Four team.''
The Greenwave looked that good in the second quarter when they pulled away from Lanier, which beat then-Herald No. 1 Monroe, 68-52, in the Bulldogs' holiday tournament and was ranked in the state Top 10 for most of the year. Two of Terrell County's three losses this season were to Monroe.
Lanier (22-6) took an early lead from the 3-point line, hitting seven 3s in the first half, but Charles Brown took over in the closing minutes of the second quarter, lifting the Greenwave on his shoulders and lifting the crowd to its feet as he bombed the Bulldogs from outside.
"My coach asked me a question during a timeout in the second quarter,'' Brown said. "He asked me: 'What do shooters do? They shoot.' "
Brown said he knew what to do.
"Let it rip,'' he said.
And he did.
Just call him The Terrell Torpedo (it's his own metaphor for the way the Greenwave plays) because he was sinking Lanier at every turn.
Brown scored eight points, hitting two long-range 3s and a drive in the final 1:46 of the half to finish with 13 of his team-high 19 points before intermission. More importantly, he turned a 31-29 lead into a 41-31 halftime edge. Ware had the other two points for the
Greenwave in that 10-2 run that put the game in Terrell County's hands.
The Greenwave built the lead to 15 points when Hall made a steal and hit Brown with a coast-to-coast pass to give TC a 46-31 edge early in the third. Lanier missed nine of 11 free throws in the third, and didn't make another run until early in the fourth when the Bulldogs, who made 12 3-pointers, got back-to-back 3s from Chavartae Raymond and Teddy Solomo to close the gap to 57-53 with 6:00 left in the game.
But Hall raced down the court and made a spinning drive in traffic to answer, and then made a steal and a quick pass to Brown, who nailed his fourth 3 of the night, and suddenly it was 62-53.
"I love balance,'' Davis said of Brown (19 points), Ware (17 points) and Hall (16 points). "I thought we played close to a complete game, everything from defense and offense, the way we forced turnovers (20) to the way we shot and handled it at the end."
Davis' plan worked, too. He wanted to try to negate Lanier's big men, and packed in his defense. Lanier took 21 treys. The big men even shot 3s, and Anthony Ethridge (20 points) and Junior Gnononde (10 points) still led the way and out-rebounded Terrell County most of the night. But when Lanier missed a 3, Terrell County was there to grab the long rebounds.
"We shot more 3-pointers (Wednesday night) than we have since I've been at Lanier, and I've been there three years,'' Garner said.
And the Greenwave just kept coming.
"It feels great to beat them,'' Hall said. "Lanier is a powerhouse team, the best Class A team we've faced all year, a real great team.''