The Greenbrier and Lakeside high school girls basketball teams stood toe-to-toe with favored opponents in region playoff action last week, but each team suffered the same fate as the other prep hoop squads in Columbia County.
All the county public school teams were stuck with season-ending losses.
In the Region 3-AAAA tournament, the Greenbrier boys (9-14 final record) fell 51-47 to Cross Creek, and the Lakeside Panthers (12-14) lost to Hephzibah; in the Region 7-AAAAA play-in game at Stephenson High School, the Evans Knights (7-17) lost 51-47 to Lakeside-DeKalb; and in the Region 3-AAA boys play-in game at Jefferson County, Harlem (10-16) lost to Laney, 64-49.
In a pair of region play-in games, the Evans girls (4-20) lost to Douglass in Region 7-AAAAA, and in Region 3-AAA Harlem (3-23) was knocked off by Jefferson County, 54-40.
The Greenbrier and Lakeside girls were the last county squads left standing, and both put up quite a fight in the Region 3-AAAA tournament.
The Lady Panthers (14-13) beat Statesboro 39-32 in a first-round contest, which earned a trip to Burke County High School. The bad news was that No. 1 seed Hephzibah was Lakeside's opponent.
Lakeside was ready to play Thursday, and challenged the Lady Rebels until late in the fourth quarter.
Jamie Lake (16 points), Ansley Evans (16 points) and Perrin Fryer (10 points) all scored in double digits for Lakeside, but Hephzibah powered to a 68-61 win and eventually claimed the region championship.
The defeat left the Lady Panthers one win short of qualifying for the Class AAAA state tournament.
The Greenbrier girls (17-8), meanwhile, needed to beat home-standing Burke County last Thursday to earn their first-ever state playoff berth, but despite a strong effort, the Lady Pack lost 65-54.
"We wanted to come to Burke County and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "That's what we did, but it just didn't work out."
The teams exchanged leads in the first half, as Greenbrier's Melissa Lewis and Alisha Simmons battled under the boards against the much bigger Lady Bears. Lady Pack freshman Tiffany Blackburn helped the cause but hitting two three-point shots.
Greenbrier was off the mark in the third, missing seven straight shots, as Burke County built a 36-30 lead.
In the opening minute of the fourth quarter, Greenbrier freshman Michelle Swiec drove the lane on a breakaway, but was fouled hard and crashed to the floor.
Swiec shook off the pain and sparked a comeback. The guard, who finished with 21 points, recorded a steal and bucket to tie the game at 46, but that was the end of Greenbrier's rally.
Four Lady Pack starters fouled out down the stretch, and Burke County converted its free throws to seal the victory.
"We made a run at it, hung in there and tied it up," Black said. "The final score was not indicative of the way the game was played. I couldn't ask for any more from our kids."
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