For the third time this season, the matchup between the Evans Lady Knights and Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack became a basketball instant classic.
The Lady Knights took down Greenbrier on Friday night, winning 53-47 in overtime, clinching first place in Region 2A-AAAAA. The win improved its record to 14-7 overall, 6-1 region while the Lady Wolfpack dropped to 15-7, 4-3.
“We can relax a little the last two games,” Evans coach Ryan Morningstar said. “Not coast, but improve areas in which there might be weaknesses.”
Greenbrier coach Stefanie Basinger hopes these hard-fought county battles will get all the teams ready for the region tournament.
“I think we’re matching up pretty well with each other. Nothing is a guarantee with these games, we have to fight for everything we can get and hopefully it’s preparing us to take several teams into the championships,” said Basinger.
Greenbrier can secure the second-place slot with one win in its last two games.
For the second time this year on Greenbrier’s court, Evans’ Allysha McFarland stuck a dagger into the Lady Wolfpack. In the teams’ first meeting Jan. 11, the senior guard hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to give the Lady Knights a 47-46 win. This time, McFarland hit a step-back 3-pointer from virtually the same spot on the floor to tie the game, again with 20 seconds left, then added three more points in the extra stanza, finishing with 19.
The Lady Wolfpack missed opportunities to keep it close in overtime as they were 0-4 from the free-throw line, and were 9-21 from the line for the night.
With the game tied at 42, Greenbrier’s Morgan Taylor hit a tough layup in traffic and was fouled, converting the traditional three-point play with 46 seconds left as they went up 45-42.
Taylor was a force inside all night for the Lady Wolfpack, leading the way with a game-high 22 points while Deztinie Cotton added 14.
Evans’ leading scorer Jasmine Stone got into foul trouble early, picking up her second personal at 2:26 of the first quarter, and sat all but the first minute of the second quarter. Autumn Johnson took up the slack as she hit two 3-pointers and had 10 points at the break and finished with 14.
Elyssa Melton hit big shots for the Lady Knights, scoring four points in overtime, and finished with 13 points.
In the boys game, Evans got a tough 60-55 win over Greenbrier. The victory brought them to 19-4 overall, one win away from a 20-win season and kept their region record at a perfect 7-0.
“Anytime you can beat a county rival it’s good,” said Knights head coach Kevin Kenny, whose team already clinched the top spot in the sub-region. “It keeps our win streak alive and the kids had a goal of 20 wins and we’re one step closer.”
Trailing 55-53 with 3:12 to play, the Knights went on a 7-0 run to end the game with Damian Foreman scoring four of his game-high 29 points during that stretch. He sank two clutch free throws with 31 seconds left that gave the Knights an insurmountable 59-55 lead.
The Wolfpack (4-17, 2-5) led by six at halftime after Steven Maier’s third 3-pointer with five seconds to go.
“I was happy with our first half, we got them out of their stuff,” said Wolfpack head coach Casey Heckathorn. “We couldn’t find a matchup for Foreman and he got them to halftime.”
The Knights fought back and tied the game at 44 heading into the fourth quarter as Jacob Buchanan scored six of his 10 points in the quarter.
The Wolfpack became a one-man show in the third quarter as Kayshawn Marshall scored all 10 of his team’s points and finished with 25 for the night.
• With a 55-40 win over Grovetown, Lakeside’s boys (8-13, 3-4) put themselves in a position to finish second in Region 2A-AAAAA, taking a game lead over both Grovetown (7-16, 2-5) and Greenbrier. Panther Sam Powell was the game’s high scorer with 29 points.
• In Region 3B-AA play, the Harlem Bulldogs (13-11, 2-4) clinched the third spot with an 88-66 win over Screven County. Reggie Reid paced the Bulldogs with 27 points as they tied the boys school record for wins, according to head coach Kim Chambers.
• In SCISA play, the Augusta Christian boys improved to 18-4, 3-3 Region 1-AAA with a 62-56 win over Cardinal Newman. The Augusta Christian girls improved to 11-12 with a 55-47 overtime win at Cardinal Newman, led by Anna Motes’ 22 points.
• In Georgia Independent Schools Association action, the Augusta Prep girls fell to 15-3 with a 54-48 loss to John Milledge. Madeline Bacheller paced the Lady Cavaliers with 17 points.