One Columbia County high-school basketball team set a record last week, and another county prep squad could match that feat before the season's through.
The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack beat Harlem 59-44 Wednesday at the Brierpatch, as coach Garrett Black's team notched its 14th victory of the 2003-04 campaign.
Along with posting the most wins in team history, the Lady Pack improved to 14-6 and clinched the first winning season for a girls' basketball team in Greenbrier's eight-year existence.
"I was thinking maybe we were a year away, so this has really been a pleasant surprise," Black said.
As it turned out, last week was full of surprises - just ask the George Walton Academy Lady Bulldogs.
The Augusta Prep girls traveled to Monroe, Ga., and stunned George Walton with a 34-32 overtime win on Wednesday.
The Lady Cavaliers pulled into a first-place tie in Region 4-AAA, and earned their 14th win of the season. Augusta Prep's school record for a girls basketball team is 17 wins, so that mark is now in jeopardy.
Additionally, Augusta Prep's impressive road win indicates the team is poised to make a run in the Region 4-AAA tournament, which will be played later this month in Augusta.
Of course, the biggest surprise of the past week occurred off the court.
The unexpected ice storm wiped out all Tuesday athletic events in Columbia County and forced area hoop teams to shuffle their schedules.
Augusta Christian was supposed to play Tuesday at John Milledge Academy, but those games were moved to this Saturday, replacing the regularly scheduled season-finale against Fellowship Christian. That game has been canceled.
The change sets up a crucial stretch for AC - the Lions and Lady Lions will cap the regular season with three Region 4-AAA contests this week.
Lakeside's basketball games against Burke County were iced out Tuesday, and staged Wednesday. The Lakeside girls fell to the Lady Bears 68-58, and the Panthers beat the Bears 83-63 in Region 3-AAAA action.
The inclement weather didn't cool down the Lady Wolfpack, though.
Greenbrier got off to a slow start against Harlem, but freshman Tiffany Blackburn knocked down three 3-point shots in the first half to keep the Lady Dogs at bay.
Melissa Lewis and Michelle Swiec both tacked on points late in the first half to put Greenbrier up 26-16. From there, the Lady Pack went on a 12-2 run to start the third quarter and ice the win.
Greenbrier has rolled to a 7-1 record against Columbia County opponents this season, but more importantly, the team has been competitive in Region 3-AAAA.
Pending the results of region games this weekend against Thomson and Statesboro, the Greenbrier girls could enter the final week of the regular season with a chance to secure a high seed in the Region 3-AAAA tournament later this month.
"We have some big region games (this weekend) that will set the status for the region tournament," Greenbrier senior Kiley Moranski said. "If we can finish well, we have a good shot at making the state playoffs. That's the first time I've ever been able to say that."
The Region 3-AAAA brackets are arranged such that any team with a seed higher than No. 6 needs to win just one tournament game to earn a berth in the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Though Greenbrier has benefited from senior leadership provided by Moranski, Majorca Murphy and Ashlee LaFontaine, a youth movement has been the key.
"This is the best group of freshmen basketball players we've had come through Greenbrier," Black said. "What else is important is Melissa Lewis transferring in (from Evans). Melissa (a sophomore) has done a tremendous job for us on the boards and running the floor."
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