Soccer season is already under way and local baseball teams have already hit the diamond. However, at Evans and Greenbrier high schools, basketball is still in the spotlight.
The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack and Evans Knights both took second place at this past weekend's Region 2-AAAA Tournament at Jones County. The wins keep the teams' seasons alive for the AAAA State Tournament beginning Friday.
Greenbrier won easily to get to the finals with a 48-39 victory over Effingham County on Friday night. For Evans, the trip to the tournament finals was tougher.
The Knights battled Statesboro in the tournament semifinals. With only 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the teams were locked in their 13th tie of the game. With seven seconds left, the Knights gave the ball to senior guard Glenn Miller.
"I was just thinking I didn't want to get ripped," Miller said. "I hesitated and picked up my dribble."
With five seconds left, Miller was stuck just inside of the half-court line. He passed to center Matt Clark, who quickly gave the ball back to Miller.
As the buzzer sounded, Miller drilled a fade-away 3-pointer in the corner to give Evans the win and a trip to the region tournament finals.
"When he's shooting there's not much anyone can do," Evans coach Kevin Kenny said. "He kept us in it the first half, too."
On top of the game-winner, Miller also hit four first-half 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points.
In Saturday's championship action, both Greenbrier and Evans came up short of a region title. The Lady Wolfpack fell to host-team Jones County after three Greenbrier starters fouled out of the game.
Lightning failed to strike twice for Evans as Miller tried to beat the buzzer for the second straight night. His desperation 3-pointer as time expired fell off the mark and gave the Knights a three-point loss to fifth-seeded Wayne County.
Despite the losses, the second-place finishes at Jones County mean both teams will play host to a first-round state tournament game.
"It's very important," Greenbrier girl's coach Garrett Black said. "We're going to get to sleep in our own beds."
The Lady Wolfpack (25-3) will play host to Bainbridge on Saturday.
For Evans, the Knights sit at 23-5 and, as a No. 2 seed in the state tournament, will welcome third-seeded Lee County on Friday. Kenny also recognized the importance of home-court advantage.
"It's huge that we'll be playing at home," he said.
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