Area high school students enjoyed a break from school last week, but the basketball teams were hard at work. At the annual Firehouse Subs Shootout Christmas Classic took place at Evans High School, the home boys reached a major milestone.
After winning three home games in three days, over Jefferson County, Aquinas and Lincoln County, the Knights extended their home winning streak to 20 games. The last boys loss at Evans' home gym took place in the 2004-05 season.
"That's a milestone," Evans senior Matt Clark said. "We take pride in playing here."
The Knights had little trouble last week, winning by 20, 17 and 12 points, respectively. Junior Jonathan Nicely led Evans in scoring with 17 points in Thursday's 60-40 win over Jefferson County and 16 points in a 57-40 win over Aquinas the next night.
Clark led the way Saturday night with a season-high 20 points. Although the 6-foot-8-inch senior nailed two 3-pointers and finished off a fast-break dunk, his teammates said it wasn't as impressive as his final point total.
"He's not an aggressive scorer. He likes to pass first," Evans senior Brandon Durr said. "It's good to have him as an offensive threat."
Evans wasn't the only boys team that found success in the Christmas Classic. Harlem picked up two wins, including a 68-65 overtime victory over Aquinas on Thursday.
Greenbrier found itself in a similar situation with Aquinas on Saturday, and it took a double-overtime effort for the Wolfpack to come away with a 67-64 win. Greenbrier won all three of its games during the weekend and finished the first half of the season with a 13-1 record.
Wolfpack coach Casey Dees said the success has come from an experienced group of players who have spent their entire high school career in his basketball program.
"This is my fourth year as head coach so this is the first group of seniors that I've had all four years," Dees said. "These kids have been running the same thing since their freshman year, and, in my opinion, that's how you build a program."
With the first half of the 2006-07 season complete, Evans (10-3) and Greenbrier (13-1) own two of the top records among Region 3-AAAA teams. The region schedule for both teams will begin Friday with Greenbrier at Statesboro and Evans at home against the Academy of Richmond County.
The two rivals will meet twice this month with region implications on the line.
"Everyone's looking at Jan. 12," Evans boys basketball coach Kevin Kenny said, referring to the first region contest against the Knights' rival, which will take place at Greenbrier. "That's an important one because it could put the winner at 2-0 in the region. There's big region implications."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.