SMYRNA -- Hebron Christian's breakout boys basketball season came to an end Saturday afternoon against one of the state's best teams, regardless of classification.
The Lions, four days after playing and winning the first boys basketball state playoff game in school history, lost 65-13 to second-ranked Whitefield Academy in the Class A first round.
"We played pretty good defensively, but we couldn't throw it in the ocean," Hebron boys coach Will Cantrell said. "We got beat soundly by a much better team. We actually played pretty soundly on defense, but it's an uphill battle when you play a team like that.
"We played hard and worked real hard. What we're doing at Hebron, we're doing it the right way."
Hebron (12-16) trailed Whitefield (25-3) just 4-2 with less than two minutes left in the first quarter, but a run by the hosts pushed the lead to 11-2 by quarter's end and the Lions never recovered.
Despite the loss, it was still a breakthrough season for a program that was 5-21 last season, Cantrell's first with the program. This season got off to a slow start, but Hebron excelled in Region 8-A play and claimed a No. 3 seed for the state tourney.
The Lions defeated Lincoln County 60-50 on Tuesday in their first-ever state tourney game.
They graduate three seniors off the history-making team -- Dylan Schulte, Griffin Gambill and Rob Harrison.
"I couldn't be prouder of them," Cantrell said.