The Greenbrier Lady Wolfpack had a basketball season they will never forget. They established a school and county record for victories with 28. They also became the first county school to reach the Final Four in 37 years.
There are plenty of people who deserve pats on the back for the memorable run Greenbrier made this season. The team features one of the top guards to ever play in Columbia County in junior standout, and reigning county Player of the Year, Michelle Swiec.
The 5-foot-6 point guard is a joy to watch. She has terrific instincts for the game and has been a key reason why Greenbrier has won 66 games the past three seasons.
Also, Swiec's supporting cast of Melissa Lewis, Tiffany Blackburn, Brooke Jackson and Sara Oland have each had their moments this season.
Let's not forget head coach Garrett Black. He already has a state title in softball and is putting together quite a rsum on the hardwood as well.
The assistant coaches, the parents and plenty of other people had to help along the way for Greenbrier to have accomplished what it did this season. However, one name that you might not have heard mentioned is Danny Black.
Yes, that Danny Black.
The longtime Columbia County coach and Garrett Black's father. During his 33 seasons in coaching, Black touched the lives of countless young men. His strict, unwavering approach to the game helped prepare plenty of area kids for basketball, but it also prepared them for life.
Some might not have realized it at the time, but Coach Black's approach taught young men to be selfless and to put the good of the team above individual goals.
So it should be no surprise that the elder Black was as happy as anyone to see the Greenbrier girls and the Evans boys have so much success this season. Oh yeah, Black also coached Evans head coach Kevin Kenny during his playing days at Hephzibah.
Kenny's teams feature a lot of the traits of Danny Black basketball: solid man-to-man defense and balanced, unselfish offense.
However, Black did much more than just admire from afar. He played a key role in the success of his son's squad this year.
One of the strengths of this year's Greenbrier team was its game planning. It seemed like Greenbrier always had a scheme to slow down an opponent's top player or the perfect play to break a full-court press.
Certainly Garrett Black deserves plenty of credit, but he did have a big-time assist from his dad. Behind the scenes all season, the veteran coach hit the road to scout upcoming Greenbrier opponents.
"Every game I would get a packet from Dad that basically told me what I should do," Garrett Black said.
It was a true family affair because Garrett's younger brother, Chris, would often accompany their dad on these "scouting trips." So when fans would ask Black if he had anything up his sleeve before games this season, if he said no he was not telling the truth. Usually he had a game plan prepared by perhaps the best basketball mind to ever coach in Columbia County. It just so happens that person also happens to be his father.
How special it must have been this season for Garrett to be able to share this experience with his dad. The elder Black never reached a Final Four. He was almost always at a height and talent disadvantage during his days at the helm of the Evans program. He made a name for himself for always being able to squeeze the most he could out of the talent he had. He also was respected by area coaches because they knew when they faced his teams, he would have a solid game plan for his team.
Now Greenbrier opponents probably feel the same way. This time, though, that game plan is a family effort.
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