As Rich Poythress stepped onto the court Tuesday night, a student yelled, "Heee's back."
The junior returned to action against Hephzibah after sitting out the first 12 games of the season following knee surgery.
His effect on the team was immediately apparent.
Poythress scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and took five charges in more than 20 minutes of action. His return almost pushed the Wolfpack to an upset of the Rebels. Greenbrier fell one shot short, losing 50-48.
"Oh man, he makes a world of difference," said Wolfpack point guard Chris Johnson. "He gets after it and raises our intensity."
Poythress said he was pleased with his and the team's effort and felt strong throughout the game.
"I felt pretty good out there," he said. "I've watched and waited all season to finally play. I just wish we could have come away with a win."
It's an odd thing to say in the midst of a four-game losing streak, but Greenbrier coach Casey Dees says Poythress' return comes as the Wolfpack are playing their best basketball.
"We struggled for a couple games, but we really found ourselves against Hart County," Dees said. "Tonight we played the best game we have all year. It was the most fun I've had all year."
The Wolfpack (6-7) led for 28 minutes against the Rebels, who have beaten top-10 ranked Butler and Thomson this season. The Rebels beat Greenbrier earlier this season by 27 points when the Wolfpack was without Poythress and Eugene Rogers.
"We knew how good they would be with Eugene and Rich back," Hephzibah coach Bob Klofestine said. "We knew we'd be in a for a dogfight."
The Rebels trailed by as many as 10 in the game and were behind eight entering the fourth quarter.
Hephzibah outscored Greenbrier 14-4 in the fourth quarter. The Wolfpack scored two points after the Rebels took their first lead of the game with 4:23 left in the final quarter.
"We played outstanding tonight," Dees said. "We just have to learn to close out games."
The No. 7 Lady Rebels beat the Lady Wolfpack, 91-59, in a game far closer than the score indicated.
Greenbrier, which was without starter Sara Oland and leading scorer Melissa Lewis, cut a double-digit lead to two points four times during the first three quarters. The Lady Pack (10-3) trailed by 12 entering the final quarter but couldn't keep up with Hephzibah's depth.
Hephzibah (15-0) pressed the entire fourth quarter, scoring 32 points in the final quarter, many of which came after Greenbrier coach Garrett Black pulled his starters.
"Usually when you pull starters you are conceding," Black said. "They really didn't let up."
Two of Greenbrier's three losses have come against Hephzibah and two have come without Lewis in the lineup.
"They are hands down the best team we have seen this year," said Hephzibah coach Wendall Lofton. "If they have (Lewis), they might have beat us. (Michelle Swiec) is one of the best players in the state.
"If we lose before the playoffs, I hope it is to a team as good as Greenbrier. Coach Black has put together, easily, the best team in school history. They will do some damage in the playoffs."
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