Columbia County has long been known as a baseball hotbed; softball in the county has earned a great reputation as well. The county has never been at the top of the list when talking about best area’s for girls basketball. However, that is slowly starting to change. Greenbrier has had some excellent squads, including a Final Four Team in 2004. Grovetown has had several tremendous seasons in their brief history and has featured a major D-1 signee. Evans has also seen a dramatic turnaround under Head Coach Ryan Morningstar. It’s very early, but several teams and players are making some noise to start the 2013-14 season.
Here’s a look at this year’s early top performers.
GREENBRIER: The Lady Wolfpack is off to a 3-0 start and have a trio of talented players that should keep them in the running for a playoff spot this season. Leading the way is junior guard Jennifer McMahon. In the team’s opening victory over Harlem. McMahon poured in 20 points on eight of 13 shooting from the field, which included four of eight from beyond the arc. She has help inside from rebounding machine Morgan Taylor and both will benefit from the unselfish play of point guard Mallory Myers. Myers dished out 9 assists in the win over HHS.
EVANS: EHS is off to a 2-1 start with their only loss coming to perennial state power Laney, the defending Class AA State Champions. It is no surprise that Evans is being led by senior guard Jasmine Stone. Stone, last year’s County Player of the Year, has scored 20 or more points in each of the Lady Knights games this season.
She might be pressing a bit though. Stone is shooting just 32 percent from the field, and is just five of 26 from three point range.
She will definitely improve those marks as the season goes on, which means her 21-ppg. average may go up too.
GROVETOWN: Jamie Echols has the Lady Warriors riding high. The squad dropped their opener to ARC, but has reeled off four consecutive victories.
During their winning streak, they have been winning in convincing fashion, winning by an average margin of 31.5 points per game. Grovetown is playing tremendous defense, holding their opponents to just 27 ppg. over the last four games.
Junior forward Leah Ferguson is leading the way for Grovetown. She dropped 24 points on South Aiken in a recent win and is averaging 15.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per contest. Naomi Hughes had a big game against South Aiken as well with 14 points and 15 rebounds. For the season, Hughes is averaging 10.0 pts. and 9.6 boards per game.
A third player has been a key for Grovetown as well. Senior Alayah Canteen, is finally realizing some of the incredible potential she has shown during her career at Grovetown. Canteen is averaging 11.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and is leading the team with 3.2 steals per contest.
It is a tough call to say who the best team is between these three and Lakeside is no push over, which should make for an extremely exciting battle in Region AAAAA.
It is truly a toss up in terms of trying to rank these teams.
I might go with Evans, simply because they are so well coached and have the best individual player in my opinion, in Jasmine Stone.
However, Grovetown also has a heck of a coach, and the Lady Warriors get after it defensively.
And, Greenbrier is balanced and has such good point guard play.
What I’m saying is … I have no idea who the best team in the county is, and that is fine by me.
I am going to sit back and enjoy the match ups and I encourage you to do the same.