When Lakeside's boys and girls basketball teams traveled to Greenbrier for a pair of games Dec. 8, the gym was filled to capacity by the first quarter of the boys game, and some late-arriving fans didn't even make it into the gym.
The turnout was remarkable considering that the nonregion boys game went as expected with a 23-point Greenbrier win.
A boys win won't come as easy this Friday night when the Evans Knights come to Greenbrier. For many fans, getting a seat to watch the game could be an even harder task.
The boys game, which is scheduled for an 8 p.m. start, is one of the most highly anticipated games of the season.
"If you're coming strictly for the boys game don't come at 8 o'clock and expect to get in," Greenbrier athletic director Scott Chadwick said. "We will put as many people in here as the fire marshal will allow, but we're not going to have an unsafe environment."
A potentially record-breaking crowd is expected to show up to see the two rivals face off. On top of the usual bragging rights that already make the Greenbrier/Evans rivalry one of the most exciting games this season, the victor will get a valuable Region 3B-AAAA win that could make a big difference in the region standings.
With so much on the line, Chadwick said he and his staff are preparing for the largest crowd of the season to descend on the Greenbrier gymnasium.
"We're going to have a meeting with the administration and security to formulate a plan," Chadwick said Saturday. "We're not treating this just like any other game. We want to be pro-active."
That action includes an increase in security guards and law enforcement at Friday's game.
"We will have extra security not because we anticipate there's going to be a problem, but just because there's going to be so many people," Chadwick said.
The two teams met once this season already at Harlem High School for the first round of the Turkey Tip-Off Tournament. Greenbrier won by four points in that first meeting.
With a region win up for grabs this Friday, the stakes are even higher this time around. Chadwick said not everyone who shows up on Friday night may get to see the rivalry game, but fans hoping to get a seat can help their chances.
"The biggest thing they can do, not only to help us but to help themselves, is to get here early," he said.
Fans can get into the gym as early as 3:30 p.m. when the girls junior varsity game will tip off the evening's festivities.
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