Greenbrier's boys basketball players sprinted out of the gym late Tuesday and toward the victory bell that had been constructed during the fall.
They hurried back inside when they realized the bell was out of commission. But the setback was minor on an emotional night for the Wolfpack.
Coach Casey Heckathorn's team beat new county rival Grovetown 63-51 Tuesday, during which a former player was remembered and a coach played his former team for the first time.
The number worn by former Greenbrier and Wofford College standout Eric Marshall, who died in April, was retired during a ceremony at halftime of the boys game. Grovetown boys coach Casey Dees, who started the first-year program after leaving the Wolfpack, was visiting his former home gym for the first time.
"We had a lot of motivation, a lot of factors involved.," Heckathorn said. "Coach Dees coming back was really special for these kids who played for (him). I know it was important for them to show their best."
The gym floor had been redone since Dees left, but the Wolfpack feature many of the same players. And they took it to the Warriors with a harassing press and consistent 3-point shooting and by creating second chances on the glass.
The victory was the Wolfpack's third over county teams after having beaten Lakeside and Harlem entering Tuesday's game. Greenbrier played host to Evans on Saturday for a chance at the early sweep.
Heckathorn said the Wolfpack forced their most turnovers of the season by using the "run-and-jump-type" press he picked up with help from Garrett Black.
"It's about knowing where your teammates are, making the right reads, trapping when appropriate and rotating for each other," Heckathorn said.
Coach Dana Bull's Wolfpack girls team improved to 3-3 with a 42-30 win over the Warriors.
Bull said the Wolfpack have been working on getting their younger players acclimated to the system. She praised freshman Deztinie Cotton, who has anchored Greenbrier's post.
Bull said the Wolfpack need to develop a better rhythm on offense. But she praised the defense, which consistently holds foes under 40 points.
Senior guard Kaila Hunt is Greenbrier's top defender, and she has been called on to stop opposing teams' top players, no matter their size.
"It doesn't matter if it's a guard or a post," Bull said. "She's strong enough and athletic enough to guard anybody. Not just defend them, but defend them well."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.