It seems like only yesterday that I was talking with Greenbrier girls basketball coach Garrett Black about his group of players at Greenbrier Middle School.
That squad had just finished the 2002-03 season 14-0 and appeared to be a special group of young women. That team featured Michelle Sweic and Brooke Jackson, and Black was excited about the prospects of the influx of talent on his team.
Having several ninth- and 10th-graders who have talent is not always easy to deal with. Many parents were upset that some upperclassmen did not make Greenbrier's team and others were not in the starting lineup, but to Black's credit, he withstood the complaints.
He did so because he knew then what is so obvious now. The group of freshmen and sophomores he had two years ago were headed for something special.
Last season, led by Sweic, Jackson, sophomore Tiffany Blackburn and junior Melissa Lewis, Greenbrier had the best season in school history. The team reached the Elite 8 in the Georgia State AAAA Playoffs.
It had to be vindication for Black to see his team, made up of underclassmen, reach such a milestone.
Black and Greenbrier are not resting on last year's success, however. The 2005-06 squad is off to the best start in school history. Led by Lewis, Sweic, and another young guard named Sara Oland, the Lady Wolfpack are at an impressive 10-0.
Greenbrier is doing it with defense this season. They are holding opponents to only 38 points per game and winning by an average margin of 22 points.
The emergence of Oland has been big this season. Greenbrier knew it would get production from Swiec and Lewis, and Blackburn has a reputation as one of the area's top 3-point shooters.
Oland's play, however, could be key for the Pack if they plan to make a deep run in the AAAA playoffs. Not only does Oland give Greenbrier another scoring option but she also provides some ball-handling that will take some of the pressure off of Sweic.
If the team has a weakness it is the lack of size inside. Greenbrier offsets that, however, by using their speed and quickness. Any way you add it up, this team is loaded.
Their region does feature a very talented Jones County squad, but no one should pick against the Pack.
That would be a huge mistake.
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