Although the basketball season recently began, the county's biggest basketball moment begins Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, the Columbia County Christmas Tournament tips off with Harlem and Greenbrier matching up at Evans High School.
The Greenbrier and Harlem girls will face off in the tournament's first game. The Lady Wolfpack have sprung out of the gate with the best start in school history and should be considered the favorites to win the tournament.
"We feel the Christmas Tournament is one of the highlights of the year," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "We know everybody will show and everyone will bring their best game. Any team can be beaten."
Greenbrier (7-1) won its first seven games before falling to Hephzibah last Saturday. The Lady Pack have already beaten the other three county schools, with each win coming by a margin of 10 points or more.
The Lakeside girls and Evans girls will square off in the nightcap. The teams haven't met this season.
The boys teams will feature the same match-ups as the girls in Saturday's opening round.
Greenbrier beat Harlem by 22 in November when the teams met.
Evans and Lakeside haven't played, but every team in the boys bracket has posted impressive wins early this season.
Evans knocked off Greenbrier. Lakeside beat Westside, which beat Greenbrier, and Harlem beat Hephzibah, which also beat the Wolfpack.
But the tournament is wide open.
"I think that any team could step up and get hot and win," said Harlem coach Kim Chambers. "In a tournament the team playing the best basketball, not necessarily the best team, can win the tournament."
Because the tournament is at Evans, the Knights might be favored.
"I think we will be disappointed if we don't win the tournament at home," said Evans junior Glenn Miller. "We feel if we are on our game, we can win it all."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.