It was the kind of game that required no pep talk from Lakeside boys basketball coach Ryan Morningstar. His team knew what was at stake.
"Before the game, Cason (Gordy) told the guys he's never beaten Greenbrier since he's been here," Morningstar said. "That's the kind of leadership you need in a game like this."
Lakeside upset rival Greenbrier on Friday in a 66-46 blowout that saw the Panthers win just about every phase of the game.
Appropriately, Lakeside's big win started with Gordy proving he could do more than just give the pre-game talk. The senior out-hustled the five Greenbrier starters by diving to the floor to grab possession of the opening tip. Gordy went to the ground two more times in the game to give the Panthers key ball possession.
That hustle, combined with other strong performances from teammates Jared Ackerman and Rosbie Mutcherson, helped hand Lakeside its biggest win since Morningstar took over the program last year.
Ackerman nailed four 3-pointers on the night, including two back-to-back to start the second quarter. The senior's run helped turn an 11-10 lead after the first quarter into a 31-18 advantage at halftime.
Mutcherson helped further extend the lead by hitting 13-of-13 free throw attempts in the game. Mutcherson and Ackerman finished with 18 points each in a Lakeside win over Greenbrier that hasn't happened in more than five years.
"This is one of the greatest games I've ever been a part of," Lakeside senior Cody Marsh said. "I know they were a little short-handed, but it's still a great feeling."
Greenbrier played without starting point guard Bryan Andrews, who was serving the last half of a two-game suspension after he was ejected from a game earlier this year. Greenbrier coach Casey Dees said Andrews, typically good for at least double digits in the scorebook, wasn't the reason for the loss.
"That had no impact on this game tonight," Dees said. "Our kids played hard, but their kids played harder."
Greenbrier senior Andy Gray led the Wolfpack with a game-high 23 points. The starting forward went 9-for-11 from the free-throw line, but the rest of the Wolfpack hit only 7-of-17 foul shots.
Lakeside, on the other hand, hit 27-of-38 free throws.
"I think the difference right now is our guard play," Morningstar said. "They've made tremendous leaps and bounds from two weeks ago. This was a completely different ballgame from the first time we played them."
Greenbrier easily beat Lakeside 59-31 in the season opener in the first round of the Columbia County Tip Off Tournament. The Panthers went on to lose their first four games of the year but have since won three in a row entering Tuesday's game against Harlem.
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