Girls basketball season will begin Monday as it has for the past several years -- with the Greenbrier girls as heavy favorites to lead the county.
The Lady Wolfpack cruised through last year's Columbia County Tip-Off Tournament. They won their games by 33 and 43 points, and went on to claim the school's first girls basketball region championship and a spot in the state playoffs.
Greenbrier girls basketball coach Garrett Black said that was last year's team.
"I think it's going to take a little while to figure some things out this year," Black said. "We lost some key players."
The biggest loss was guard Michelle Swiec, who graduated with more than 1,500 career points. Sharp shooters Tiffany Blackburn and Brooke Jackson also wrapped up their high school careers last season.
Junior post player Dorian Freeman is back this season but has an injured shoulder. She'll miss the first three weeks.
Black said those are big losses, but it will also give others a chance to shine. Almost 40 girls participated in Greenbrier's tryouts this year.
"We're banged up right now, so we're going to have to play a lot of kids early," Black said. "No doubt we want to win it."
Greenbrier's first test will be against Lakeside in the 7 p.m. game Monday.
Harlem will face Evans to begin the girls portion of the tournament at 4 p.m.
Harlem knocked off Lakeside in first-round action last season to reach the finals and take a second-place finish with a loss to Greenbrier. Evans beat Lakeside in last season's consolation game for a third-place finish.
With all four teams, including three region opponents, participating in the two-day tournament once again this season, Black said this annual event is an ideal way to start the season.
"It's fun for the kids, fun for the students and for the community," he said. "Plus, you get a chance to get a look at Evans and Lakeside and see what they have."
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