Greenbrier is reaching new heights this season on the hardwood.
Last season, the Lady Wolfpack advanced to the AAAA Quarterfinals and established a new school record for wins in a season. With virtually all of the top performers from that squad back this season, expectations were quite high for coach Garrett Black and the 2005-06 team.
When the horn sounded on its 53-40 quarterfinal win over Westside-Macon, the Pack had accomplished two things.
First, the players avenged their loss in last season's state tournament, and second, they were headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
Now Greenbrier is just two wins away from Columbia County's first-ever public school state basketball title (boys or girls).
It will not be easy.
Tonight, Greenbrier faces Marist. The Lady War Eagles have run up a 28-2 record. Their only losses came to St. Pius X, who will be playing Jones County in the other AAAA Semifinal game.
Marist did post one victory over St. Pius X (65-56). More impressive is how Marist has been winning games. The Lady War Eagles have won their 28 games by an amazing average of 25 points per game.
Like Greenbrier, Marist is making its first trip to the Final Four. The Lady War Eagles are led by 6-2 Drey Mingo. Mingo led Westminster to a Semifinal appearance last season before transferring to Marist. Mingo led the way in the quarterfinals for Marist with 23 points in a 71-41 win over Etowah.
The talented junior will be one of the state's most coveted recruits next season.
Greenbrier has dropped only three games all season. Like Marist, they have two losses to a team appearing in the other AAAA Semifinal: Jones County.
So can Greenbrier's quickness, balance, and tremendous pressure-defense overcome the size advantage of Marist? That is the key to this one.
While everyone outside of Columbia County probably favors Marist, I, for one, would not bet against Coach Black and the Pack.
Congrats to Evans
Coach Kevin Kenny and the Evans Knights deserve a huge pat on the back. Evans was expected to be pretty good this season, but no one envisioned what happened in 2005-06.
Evans finished 24-6 establishing a new school record for wins and advanced to the AAAA Sweet Sixteen. They may not have been the most talented team night in and night out, but this Evans team did two things extremely well.
First, they were balanced and unselfish. On any given night a different player could carry the scoring load. Also, they simply would outwork their opponents. Anyone who saw Evans play this season got to see a team that gave everything they had each time they stepped on the floor.
So to Coach Kenny and the Knights: Congrats! You guys should be extremely proud of your accomplishments this season.
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