The Greenbrier and Lakeside high school golf teams reversed roles during the 2001 season.
Last year Greenbrier captured its first Region 3-AAAA golf championship by beating Thomson in a sudden-death playoff at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro.
Following a string of third-place finishes at region, Greenbrier finally had a golf trophy, plus its initial berth in the state tournament.
Lakeside, meanwhile, finished third at the Region 3-AAAA tournament and did not qualify for state. The Panthers had won four straight Region 2-AAAA titles, and were the Class AAAA state champions in 1999, which made missing the state tournament a big blow.
The Panthers and Pack met last week for the first time in 2002, and Lakeside exacted some revenge with a 159-163 victory in the 9-hole match at The Club at Jones Creek.
Although the teams are rivals, the rematch wasn't a grudge match.
"If we can't win the region, I'd like for it to be them this year," Greenbrier coach Bubba Nash said. "Lakeside's kids cheer for my kids, my kids cheer for their kids. It's almost like they're at the same school."
While there were no hard feelings, the Panthers still had a point to prove.
"I knew that Greenbrier was the team to beat. We've got a good little match going here," said Jay Gilstrap, Lakeside's first-year coach. "I think it's a confidence builder for us."
Greenbrier's Will Rogers tees off on the second tee during a 9-hole match against Lakeside at Jones Creek.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Lakeside was led by C.J. Blackman (38) and Brent Lake (39). Travis Starr (40), Ryan Blackburn (42) and Matt Howard (42) rounded out the Panthers' counting scores.
Greenbrier's counting scores were from Lee Henry (38), Ben Johnson (41), Will Rogers (42) and Pat Crawford (42).
Local prep golf teams traditionally pick up the pace after Masters Week, and the 2001 Wolfpack was a perfect example. Greenbrier struggled in early matches, then put it all together during its run to the region title.
There are other reasons not to read too much into Wednesday's showdown.
Both Lakeside and Greenbrier have well-balanced teams, as each has 10 or more players currently trying to crack the top six. The internal competition could change the complexion of the squads before the Region 3-AAAA tournament.
Lakeside's top ten features seniors Howard, Lake, Starr and Andrew Mize; William Stulb is a junior; the sophomores are Brad Severson and Dominic Mazzoli; and, the freshmen are Blackburn, Blackman and Jordan Riner, who fired a 35 to lead Lakeside to a win in a Tuesday match in Statesboro.
Greenbrier is strongly represented by sophomores, including Rogers, Johnson, Pat Crawford, Matt Barman, Daniel Hall and Paul Barnes; Eric Wagner is the lone junior; and, the Pack's seniors are Henry, Clint Sherrouse and Jared Macky.
While Greenbrier is defending region champion, and Lakeside is seeking a return to the throne, Thomson is poised to be the spoiler.
The Region 3-AAAA tournament will be held at Forest Hills Golf Club in late April. The Class AAAA state tournament also will be staged at the Augusta course, and only the top two region teams advance to state.
"Us, Thomson and Lakeside - it should come down to two of those three schools going to state," Coach Nash said.
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