To most of the country, it's a semi-sappy television show, but to the Augusta Christian School boys basketball team, "Seventh Heaven" has an entirely different meaning.
The Lions won two games last week at John Milledge Academy to capture a seventh-consecutive Region 4-AAA championship.
"Seven in a row is certainly a great accomplishment," AC coach Andrew Bryan said.
Next year, the Lions might find out if Eight is Enough, but for now the references to bad TV will have to wait.
Still, Bryan does want to see Three's Company - Augusta Christian storms into the Georgia Independent School Association Class AAA state tournament this week, where the Lions will attempt to claim a third GISA crown.
The Lions, which won GISA championships in 1996 and '99 under former coach Mike Gold, begin the quest for three Thursday. Augusta Christian opens the state tournament with a first-round game against Riverside Military Academy.
"A region championship is nice, but after we finished practice (Monday) I told the players the ultimate goal is to play for another two weeks."
Bryan was referring to the GISA Final Four, which is scheduled for Feb. 28-29 at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville.
"When you get to the state tournament, every game is tough," Bryan said. "We're hoping to make it back to Milledgeville. We want to play well and give ourselves a chance to play in the Final Four."
Augusta Christian's performance in the Region 4-AAA tournament certainly was a step in that direction - the Lions opened with a convincing 66-43 win Thursday over Westminster, as senior Jorden Belcher sparked the victory with 21 points.
That set up a match Friday with George Walton Academy, the two-time defending GISA Class AAA champions.
The Bulldogs had beaten Augusta Christian in two previous meeting this season, but the Lions exacted revenge at region. AC never trailed in the game, and went on to record a 47-37 win to clinch the seventh straight title.
"The past two years we went into the tournament as a second seed, and ended up winning," Bryan said. "George Walton was tough, but we came through. They had beaten us twice before, wo we had to give it to them."
Belcher scored 13 points in the title game, Warren Chapman added 12, and Brandon Kimm, Jamal Womble, Mark Herrmann and Scott Bodden also chipped in points for the Lions.
The AC boys will be joined in the state playoffs by the Augusta Christian Lady Lions, as well as the Augusta Prep boys and girls squads, which all earned tournament bids with wins last week at region.
Of the four Columbia County teams in action this week, though, the Lions seem to be in the best position to make a real run at a state title. AC enters with a 19-7 record, and has not lost since Jan. 24.
"I like our chances this year," Bryan said. "Our focus and our goals are a little bit different. Last year we might have been content with winning region. This year we have another goal in mind."
You could give that mission a movie title - Lord of the Rings.
"There's no better way to go out that winning a state championship, putting a banner up and getting a ring," said Kimm, AC's senior point guard.
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