When it comes to sports in Columbia County, basketball probably falls behind softball, volleyball and soccer in terms of girls' success.
Greenbrier High School's girls basketball team went a long way to change that image last season. Now they hope to do it again.
"We've got a chance to be really good," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "The keyword is 'chance.'"
The Lady Wolfpack ran the table against Columbia County teams last season and started out the year with 11 straight wins. Their GHSA Class AAA final four appearance in the state tournament capped the best girls basketball season in school history.
With that much success, it's no wonder Black would only go as far as saying his team has a "chance" to produce similar results.
"When I say 'chance' I mean we have to show up and play our best every night," he said. "We're thin on the block, but I have faith in the kids playing on the blocks this year."
The post player positions were up for grabs during tryouts this year after last season's post players, Melissa Lewis and Brittany Leverett, graduated. Black said senior Tiffany Blackburn will move underneath the basket this season to help fill the void, but the rest of the load will fall on the shoulders of sophomore Dorian Freeman.
"I'm hoping we don't miss a beat because Dorian is the same type of player Melissa was," Black said. "She's quick and a great athlete. We're hoping she'll clean the boards for us."
While the post position will be different, the Lady Wolfpack back court remains as solid, if not stronger, than it was last season. All-state point guard Michelle Swiec, who led the county with 17 points per game last season, will return, along with junior guard Sara Oland.
Seniors Susanne Jenkins and Brooke Jackson also return, and Janay Moore, a transfer from Evans who started at guard for the Lady Knights last season, will make up the strongest and deepest back court in the county.
"I love our guard play. From the guard position we're six deep." Black said. "We want to bring 32 minutes of constant pressure."
Swiec, also a cross country runner, got a late start on the basketball season.
Because cross country didn't wrap up until last weekend, Swiec didn't start practicing with the team until this past Monday.
"I wish I could have been here a little earlier," she said. "My major concern is how well we'll mesh as a team. There are a lot of new players."
With four starters returning and a deep bench filled with new talent, the expectations are high for the Lady Wolfpack. Even though that might be a foreign idea in girls basketball in Columbia County, Black said it's nothing new to girls sports.
"As far as pressure, these kids see that all the time in softball, cross country and volleyball," he said. "These girls know how to play with a bull's-eye on them."
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