The team gathered in a hallway inside the Health and Physical Education Complex at Fort Valley State, a GHSA Class AAAA Girls Tournament semifinal win in the books Saturday afternoon.
And Veterans' girls were happy, a joy that increased when told that their school's administration was taking them out for lunch on the following Thursday.
That lunch will be at Longhorn's, before a pep rally.
"Yeah," Veterans head coach Nicki Miranda said. "They're just happy to get out of class."
There's little doubt that many of the Warhawks would have gotten much accomplished in the classroom on Thursday, considering what's on tap Thursday night: a state championship game.
Veterans will make its first appearance on such a stage when it faces Americus-Sumter in the GHSA Class AAAA Girls Tournament championship at the Macon Coliseum.
For a program that is less than a decade old, the Warhawks bring a level of confidence to the game. They went 30-2 last year, losing in the final seconds to Carrollton in a semifinal.
Veterans avenged that loss with a 54-48 win over Carrollton a week ago in a quarterfinal game at Fort Valley State and then survived a sluggish game to edge Wayne County 28-24 in a semifinal Saturday.
Up next is Americus-Sumter, owner of a 30-1 record. The Panthers haven't lost since Dec. 29, 65-55 to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in a tournament in Naples, Florida. This follows a 29-2 season in 2014-15 with losses to Bainbridge by four points in the regular season and 56-51 to Carrollton in the third round of the tournament.
Another connection with Americus-Sumter and Veterans is Marist, which lost 47-31 last year to Veterans and 63-56 to Americus-Sumter this year, both in the quarterfinal round. And the Panthers and Warhawks are a little familiar with each other, having scrimmaged twice last summer in Macon.
"Maybe neither one of us had our full teams either time," Miranda said. "I think (the games were) within a basket both times. It was good stuff.
"Hopefully it'll be good stuff (Thursday)."
Senior forward Morgan Riley knows what faces the Warhawks.
"They're really fast, really aggressive on defense," she said. "They like to jump the passing lanes. They live and die from their pressure defense."
Veterans might have an advantage from getting to watch the semifinal Saturday between Americus-Sumter and Buford. Having already played, the Warhawks could focus on both teams and not worry about playing that second semifinal of the day.
"I think we were looking at them with an open mind," Riley said. "We had just won a tough game. Watching them play was also helpful."
Senior point guard Kya Cochran's impact will be more than normal, since she'll be going against Florida State-bound guard Atyanna Gaulden.
"No. 1 (Gaulden) was there both times, I remember that," Miranda said of last summer's meetings. "She's just electric with the ball. She transitions from defense to offense extremely fast with the ball in her hands and creating things."
Gaulden averages 21 points, 5 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 6.4 steals per game. So tempo is huge. The Panthers average 68.2 points per game to 52 for the Warhawks.
"They're more of a transition team, scrappy team," Cochran said. "They like to gamble on defense. They're really athletic and quick.
"If we handle the ball and don't be too indecisive with what we're going to do and just play, slow down, don't turn the ball over and take quick shots "
Veterans has a height advantage, which it will need against faster and more athletic Americus-Sumter. The Panthers use those tools to win battles on the glass.
"Oh, yeah," Riley said. "Every day in practice, we've been doing box-out drill after box-out drill and everything else. we have to man the boards. That's another way that Americus-Sumter scores their points is off of putbacks. They crash it really hard.
"You have to put a body on somebody and push them back and make sure we get that rebound."
Timia Swanson, a 5-foot-9 junior, adds 13.4 points and leads the Panthers with 7.5 rebounds.
Each team has dumped the past two Class AAAA champs, Veterans beating Redan in the second round and Americus-Sumter topping Buford in the semifinal. The Panthers and Warhawks are new to this stage, so there will be anxiety and nerves on both benches.
"This isn't going to be like any other game," Riley said. "No one has really played on this stage before. This is Veterans' first time going to the state championship game.
"It's a mixture of a lot of things. We're excited, we're hyped, but we're also focused. We know we have to get the job done."