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Three Upson-Lee basketball players arrested, won't play in state championship

Upson-Lee students and basketball players Rodney Raines (upper left), Ja'Corey Smith (center) and Otis Walker (upper center) were arrested for marijuana possession and will not play in the state championship game Saturday. A fourth person not on the basketball team, Hamilton Harrison, 18, (lower right) was arrested and charged as well./Courtesy Upson County Sheriff's

THOMASTON, Ga. -- An official statement from the Thomaston-Upson school district confirmed that three members of the Upson-Lee varsity basketball team have been arrested on charges of marijuana possession and will not be eligible to play in Saturday's state championship game.

Those players are Ja'Corey Smith, 17, Rodney Raines, 18, and Otis Walker, 17. A fourth person not on the basketball team, Hamilton Harrison, 18, was arrested and charged as well.

WGXA reached out to the school and team on Wednesday, who declined to speak on the incident.

According to a police report from the Thomaston Police Department, officers responded to a 911 call of suspicious activity in the Greatest Generation Park area Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

Upon arriving, officers noticed six individuals standing around four cars in the area. The responding officer saw one individual throw an object behind a car, and says there was an odor of marijuana at the scene. After searching the scene, additional officers and a K9 officer found marijuana in two of the four cars.

All six individuals at the scene were identified as Upson-Lee students -- and four of them were identified as members of the Upson-Lee varsity boys basketball team.

Four of the six individuals at the scene were arrested with misdemeanor marijuana possession and criminal trespassing charges. The other two were released without charges.

Of the four that were arrested, three -- Smith, Raines and Walker -- were members of the Upson-Lee varsity basketball team. Those three are not minors and will be charged as adults, according to the statement by the school district.

It is the policy of Thomaston-Upson County schools to prohibit participation in school activities following an arrest until the investigation is concluded. This means that the three players will not be eligible to play in Saturday's 4A state championship game against St. Pius X.

Upson-Lee basketball has not lost a game since Feb. 2016 and is currently riding a 62-game winning streak. They're facing off against a Golden Lions team that they beat in last year's championship.

Tip-off for that game is Saturday at 4 p.m. at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.

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