MACON, GA (WTOC) - The Johnson Atom Smasher girls' basketball team has completed their journey.
It included three straight Final Fours, two straight state title games, and finally after Thursday, a state championship.
"To get the brass ring and to get the proverbial monkey off our back, we're no longer second class citizens now," said Johnson head coach Brandon Lindsey. "We're state champs."
"It's a feeling we've been waiting for for a long time. Now we finally get to understand the feeling," says senior guard J'mya Cutter. "It's just overwhelming right now. It's something we've all really wanted for a long time."
The Atom Smashers knocked off Greater Atlanta Christian 62-50 in the GHSA Class AAA state championship Thursday in Macon.
Cutter led the Smashers with 19 points, while Jasmine Thompson added 13.
Johnson never trailed, and the game was only tied once. But there were certainly moments when it felt like GACS had all the momentum.
Yet every time the Spartans got things going, Johnson was able to answer with a run of their own. A large part of Johnson's success in Macon was their defense, led by center Giana Copeland.
The senior blocked 12 shots and grabbed 12 rebounds.
For the Smashers, this win was a form of redemption after a loss to cross-town rival Beach in last year's title game. The team says that loss served as a motivation to give their all Thursday.
"We knew we could do it. We just fell short that game. You win some, you lose some," Williams says. "But this was the game we wanted to win. This was the only game that mattered."
"I'm telling you, we put a lot of work into it," Lindsey said. "This journey right here has been arduous. But hey, this is the reward for it."