Greenbrier High School's girls basketball team has raced out to an 11-0 mark and a No. 8 ranking in the latest Girl's AAAA Poll.
Coach Garrett Black once again has had the Midas touch. He had to replace the back court combo of Brooke Jackson and Michelle Swiec (both were four-year starters) and three-point bomber (and three-year starter) Tiffany Blackburn from last season's 29-1 squad.
Losing so much firepower had many expecting Greenbrier to have a rebuilding year; however, with Sara Oland and a deep and balanced group, Black has the Pack in familiar territory -- lots of wins.
Since the 2004-05 season, Greenbrier has won an astonishing 91 games while losing only 13. They are 40-1 since the start of last season. This for a program that had never won 20 games in a season until the 2004-05 season.
This is not to mention that they were pioneers of a sort. Columbia County was far from a basketball hotbed, and girls hoops was more like a small roll-out cot frozen in ice.
Thanks to a steady group of talented players, and, more important Black's ability to get the most out of his teams, Greenbrier has built a mini-dynasty in the formerly basketball-dry county.
They do not have a state title to hang their hat on, but three sweet 16s, a final 8, a final 4 and a record of 91-13 over the past 31/2 years is plenty to be proud of.
Also, let's not forget that he has guided the softball team to incredible heights as well. During the same stretch that produced a 91-13 mark in basketball, the softball team is an eye-popping 135-26-1 with a state title.
In an effort for full disclosure, I consider Garrett Black a friend. I have known him for more than 20 years; his father coached me in high school; and I have played golf with his brother more than 100 times (by the way, some of those rounds would make a great column one day).
My friendship aside, what he has done at Greenbrier has been amazing and he seems to get more respect around the state than he does in his own hometown. It is almost like people just expect him to win now. Well, that is a pretty remarkable feat itself.
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