Every successful team has one or two superstar players and a cast of good surrounding players.
Greenbrier High School junior Melissa Lewis is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Chicago Bulls perfected this formula in the '90s with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, winning six championships.
The Greenbrier girls team has a similar plan, with Michelle Swiec and Melissa Lewis leading the way for the Lady Wolfpack.
Which one is Jordan?
Well, Lewis wears No. 23.
"They are both unbelievable players," said Greenbrier coach Garrett Black. "They have a chance to be amongst the best girl players the county has ever seen. And they are both underclassmen."
While freshman Sara Oland has stepped up to be a suitable backup to Swiec, no player has been able to fill the role of Lewis when she is out of the game.
"Melissa is so strong inside," Swiec said. "I mean, if I get the ball to her, I'm usually expecting her to score."
The junior post player is one of the fastest players down the floor, and she gets a number of transition baskets.
Lewis also likes to slash to the hoop and score and has had success on put-backs. She is nearly flawless from the free-throw line.
"I feel like there are a number of ways I can score," Lewis said. "But that is the case with the whole team. That is why we have been so successful this year."
Lewis' 18 points a game are tops for Greenbrier, which is off to its best start in school history at 10-2. She also leads the team in rebounding.
"I've never seen a Greenbrier team this good," said Hephzibah coach Wendall Lofton. "[Lewis] is a hard-nosed player inside. I think they have the potential to go a long way."
Greenbrier's only losses were to unbeaten Hephzibah and to Hart County, in a game in which Lewis didn't play.
"If she plays, I think we win by 20," Swiec said. "There is no way they could have stopped her."
Lewis had to miss the final game of the DQ Classic and a second game against Hephizbah after she was ejected from a game with Stephens County for a flagrant foul.
She said she has learned to better control herself if that situation presents itself again.
"I'm not mean-natured," Lewis said. "She kicked me in the throat, and pushing her was just an instinct."
Lewis returns Friday for a key region road test against Wayne County (10-3, 1-1).
"There isn't a better time for her to return," Black said. "We struggled to score inside without her. She will give us a tremendous amount of confidence and an inside presence."
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