Ramblers rolling into Sweet 16

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LAFAYETTE, Ga. (WDEF) — The Lafayette boys basketball team hasn’t let a global pandemic — or two quarantines — stop them. The Ramblers are rolling into the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

The Lafayette Ramblers have been nearly perfect: 21-1 record, 31-point first round win. So what’s the secret?

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“We just stay locked in on the defensive end,” senior DeCameron Porter said. “Play defense, get boards, not turn the ball over.”

“It starts with effort and defense, and that’s what we really hang our hat on,” Coach Hank Peppers said. “That’s what you got to hang your hat on. You don’t always shoot well. You don’t always play well. But when you defend and play hard, the ball bounces your way.”

This season, you don’t always get to play either. Ramblers had to quarantine twice, but getting back to the state tournament was never in question.

“To be honest, our goal was to just get better every day,” Peppers said. “Sometimes if you make just a target, say region championship your goal, you lose track of the steps it takes to get there. So we were just focused on the daily process. I know it sounds cliche, but that’s the truth. You make your goal just get better every day, then everything takes care of itself.”

The Ramblers returned a majority of last year’s Elite 8 team … that’s ready to redeem last year’s heart-breaker.

“When we get a big lead, we can’t look back,” Porter said. “That happened to us last year. We had a 15-point lead and we just blew it.”

“They’re also hungrier now than last year,” Peppers said. “We were so close last year to the final four, it left a bad taste in our mouth at the end of the season.”

“We just remember to have fun while we play,” junior Aidan Hadaway said. “We don’t take anything too serious, don’t get sad or anything like that. Just go out and play.”

Ramblers host Greater Atlanta Christian Saturday at 6 p.m. for a spot in the Elite Eight.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."