Both the boys and girls games between Greenbrier and Evans opened the Region 2-AAAAA portion of the schedule Friday night, and if the white-knuckle action is any indication, the county will be in for a wild ride the rest of the way.
In front of an overflow crowd at Greenbrier with each team’s supporters screaming at every turn, both Evans teams pulled out wins in similar fashions.
In the opening contest, the Lady Knights staged a dramatic comeback with Allysha McFarland hitting a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the game to propel the team to a 47-46 triumph.
Still with time, the Lady Wolfpack committed a turnover on the ensuing possession to all but end the game.
“This was a good tipoff for what this region is,” said Lady Knights’ head coach Ryan Morningstar, denoting the high level of competition.
McFarland had an open look but made it interesting as she banked home the game-winner.
“I lost my footing but I kept the angle and I felt it go in,” said McFarland, who led all scorers with 18 points.
The Lady Knights (9-5, 1-0 Region 2-AAAAA) trailed most of the game and were down by as much as 14 in the third period. The game appeared to be all but over as the Lady Wolfpack (11-4, 0-1) led 45-32 with 2:40 to go.
That’s when Jasmine Stone went to work, providing a 7-0 run of her own with two layups and a traditional three-point-play. She scored 11 of her 16 points in the final period, including nine in the final 2:40.
The Lady Wolfpack hurt themselves at the free-throw line, converting just 17-of-34 chances and self-destructed in the final minute turning the ball over three times while missing two free throws.
Morgan Taylor led the Lady Wolfpack with 15 points,
The boys game was no less exciting as momentum and the lead changed hands several times before Evans (12-3, 1-0) was able to get by the Wolfpack, 66-63.
Evans’ K’lon Lovett scored his only basket of the game on a layup with with 20 seconds left after Damian Foreman poked the ball to him on the defensive end of the floor. Leading 65-63, the Knights’ Jacob Buchanan blocked a shot on the other end then Foreman, who led all scorers with 27 points, iced the game with a free throw with one second remaining.
“This was a huge rivalry game and a big region game,” said Evans head coach Kevin Kenny. “All nine region games are going to be like that – close and competitive.”
The Wolfpack (2-12, 0-1) looked like they might upset the Knights as they got them in early foul trouble, forcing Kenny to sit starters Patrick Lawrence and Buchanan. The Wolfpack were able to get inside for layups and putbacks of misses, and led 19-13 after one, with six different players scoring.
Everything continued going right for the Wolfpack to the 4:19 mark of the second period as they built a 34-21 lead, but the Knights scored the last eight points of the half and trailed 34-29 at the break.
Like the girls, the Wolfpack hurt themselves at the line as they sank just seven-of-21 free-throw attempts.
Lawrence hit a 3-pointer to open the half, and trailing 36-35, Matt Epps got a feed from Foreman, hit a layup, was fouled and sank the free throw giving the Knights its first lead since the 3:40 mark of the first period.
“The last two minutes of the second quarter we turned the ball over several times and it was a 10-point swing to start the third,” said Wolfpack head coach Casey Heckathorn.
The Knights built a seven point lead that the Wolfpack had to cut into until they tied the score at 56 with just under five minutes to play. From that point on, the lead seesawed with neither team taking more than a two-point advantage until the final seconds.
Kayshawn Marshall led the Wolfpack with 15 points, Connor Sigrist had 13 and Darius McAdoo chipped in with 10.
Even in the loss, Heckathorn was proud of his team.
“This was the best 32 minutes we’ve played this year, hands down,” he said.
In other region action, Grovetown;s girls defeated Lakeside 44-38; the Lakeside boys won 42-41 over Grovetown; Harlem’s girls fell 65-25 to Westside while the Westside boys defeated Harlem 92-44.