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 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 Evans girls to a 47-46 triumph.
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,” Evans head coach Ryan Morningstar said.
On the game-winning shot, McFarland had an open look and banked it in.
“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, and the Lady Wolfpack (11-4, 0-1) led 45-32 with 2:40
Evans’ Jasmine Stone then went to work, providing a 7-0 run of her own with two layups and a three-point-play, bringing the Lady Knights within striking distance. She scored 11 of her 16 points in the final period, including nine in the final 2:40.
Greenbrier hurt itself at the free-throw line, converting just 17 of 34 chances and turning the ball over three times while missing two free throws in the final minute.
Morgan Taylor led the Lady Wolfpack with 15 points.
The boys game was no less exciting as momentum and the lead changed 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 20 seconds left after Damian Foreman poked the ball away to him on the defensive end of the floor. Leading 65-63 lead, the Knights’ Jacob Buchanan blocked a shot on the other end and then Foreman, who led all scorers with 27 points, iced the game with a free throw with 1 second remaining in the contest.
“This was a huge rivalry game and a big region game,” Evans head coach Kevin Kenny said. “All nine region games are going to be like that – close and competitive.”
The Wolfpack (2-12, 0-1) got the Wolfpack 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 34-21 with 4:19 left in the half.
The Knights scored the last eight points of the half, however, and trailed 34-39 at the break.
The Wolfpack hurt themselves at the line made just 7 of 21 free-throw attempts.
Lawrence hit a 3-pointer to open the second half, and trailing 36-35, Matt Epps got a feed from Foreman, hit a layup, was fouled and sank the free throw giving Evans a 38-36 advantage.
“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,” Wolfpack head coach Casey Heckathorn said.
Kayshawn Marshall led the Wolfpack with 15 points, Connor Sigrist had 13 and Darius McAdoo chipped in with 10.