Early in the season, Greenbrier boys basketball coach Casey Heckathorn saw an alarming trend he believed needed changing right away.
The Wolfpack were giving up far too many second chances on the defensive end as teams beat them on the boards.
Heckathorn had heard of a rebounding drill run by Michigan State, one of the nation's pre-eminent college basketball programs, so he got in touch with one of the Spartans' assistant coaches.
"I made a call to Michigan State this week and talked to Dwayne Stephens," he said. "They do a drill up there they call the War Drill. ... It's about a team commitment to it. It's about a fight, and every rebound's a battle.
"It's a neat mind frame we're trying to get into."
Heckathorn instituted the drill last week and saw results instantly.
Playing at Grovetown on Friday night, the coach lauded the job his players did on the defensive glass in a 52-42 victory over the Warriors.
"We boxed out well and got a few over-the-back calls," Heckathorn noted. "And I thought our defensive intensity was outstanding."
An early run buoyed the Wolfpack, who went up 31-24 at halftime, but Grovetown kept it close in the second half.
The Warriors threatened to take the lead late in the second quarter and throughout the third, keeping the margin within single digits.
"All I can ask is that they give us a chance at the end," Grovetown coach Bill Madigan said. "If a couple of those shots go down, it's a totally different ball game."
The Wolfpack pulled away late, outscoring the Warriors 15-10 in the fourth quarter.
For Greenbrier, Chad Waddell led the way with 15 points, while Dejon Britton added 11. In the big fourth-quarter run, Zach Woo scored all of his points on a pair of 3-pointers that extended the Wolfpack lead.
For Grovetown, Denzell Garrett and Mike Chandler had 10 points each.
While Madigan stressed that his team must improve its flow on the offensive end, he was impressed by its work ethic.
"It's not a lack of effort," he said. "That's all I can ask from them every night. I tell them, 'Strong effort and the wins will come.'"
For Heckathorn, the early season stretch has provided his team with an ideal mix.
"We're getting great learning experiences with the (wins). It's a bonus," he said. "We've got leads in the last three games, and we've let teams claw back in. But we're learning down the stretch."
Both teams struggled with free-throw shooting. Greenbrier came out on the better end despite going 11 for 20, as Grovetown made just 5 of 17.
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