The Greenbrier High School basketball teams needed a boost in the Region 3-AAAA standings last week, and the only way to attain that goal was to whip Lakeside High School's squads.
The Wolfpack and the Lady Pack did just that Friday night at Lakeside, where Greenbrier did more than gain the upper hand on a Columbia County rival.
Simply put, the home teams were humbled.
The Greenbrier girls built an early lead and cruised to a 49-39 victory over the Lady Panthers. The nightcap was even more lopsided, as the Pack powered to an easy 76-54 win.
If body language means anything, the outcomes were decided before the opening tip.
During pre-game warmups, the Lakeside players didn't seem to have a care in the world. Greenbrier's players, on the other hand, displayed stone-faced visages not seen this side of Mount Rushmore.
"We were focused and ready to play tonight," Lady Pack coach Garrett Black said. "I don't know what to tell you, except one word - and that's Lakeside."
Both Greenbrier teams entered Friday's action with 0-2 records in Region 3-AAAA, and both were coming off disappointing region defeats at Baldwin.
Another region loss for either team would have been another nail in the coffin in region play - but thanks to solid defense and great rebounding, the Wolfpack and the Lady Pack moved up in the Region 3-AAAA pecking order.
"We really needed to win this game," Pack coach Casey Dees said. "It was important in the region standings, and most of all for our confidence."
Greenbrier received stellar play from point guard Reggie Rice (18 points, five steals and three assists), Matthew Todd (14 points) and Eugene Rogers (14 points), but the main man was sophomore Rich Poythress, who scored 22 points and pulled down 18 rebounds.
"If we all play together, anyone is capable of having a big night," Poythress said. "We knew we needed a region win - there's no better place to do it than here."
The Panthers, thanks to the shooting of Matt Scott (31 points), stayed close until late in the first half. The Pack closed the second quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 40-31 lead into the break.
The score never got any closer. Greenbrier went 9 for 18 from the field in the second half, and also tacked on 17 free throws. Lakeside, meanwhile, was 8 for 35 after the break, and went to the foul line just six times in the second half.
The girls' game played out in similar fashion - Greenbrier used a patient approach on offense, Lakeside got in foul trouble, and a sophomore was the difference.
Melissa Lewis had 16 points, 17 rebounds, four steals and one block to lead the Lady Pack.
"She dominated tonight," Black said of Lewis. "She scored, she got after it on defense, and the biggest thing was she controlled the boards for us."
Greenbrier point guard Michelle Swiec tacked on 14 points, while freshmen Tiffany Blackburn and Brooke Jackson nailed key 3-point shots to keep Lakeside at bay.
There's still a long way to go in region play, and things can change before the Region 3-AAAA tournament next month.
But last Friday might be the night when Lakeside hit a detour, and Greenbrier got on the right path.
"The good thing about our team is if we all come together, nobody can stop us," Rice said. "There was a lot more teamwork tonight than in our past few games. We were all focused."
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