Greg Wilson finally can breathe a little easier.
The Augusta State women (9-10, 4-7 Peach Belt) snapped a six-game losing streak with a 66-52 win over UNC Pembroke on Wednesday. With five games remaining, the Lady Jaguars hold a two-game lead and the tiebreaker over the Lady Braves (10-11, 2-9) for the fourth and final spot in the PBAC North Division to qualify for the conference tournament.
However, the final spot may not be decided until the end of the season. Augusta State plays four of its five games against teams that have a .667 or better winning percentage. UNC Pembroke plays three of its five against PBAC cellar-dwellers USC Spartanburg and Clayton State.
"I feel good from the standpoint that we were picked last and we're not last," Wilson said. "One of our goals at the beginning of the year was to make the tournament. Right now, we're on schedule."
While there currently are only 10 healthy players on the Augusta State roster, Wilson feels if his team could make the trip to Greenwood, S.C., it could be a tough squad to play.
"We would all be elated to be there," he said. "You never know what can happen in a `one-loss and you're gone' format. We want to go there and surprise some folks."
The Augusta State men's loss to UNC Pembroke virtually ended its bid at winning the Peach Belt Conference regular-season title.
Georgia College & State (19-2, 10-1) has a three-game lead over Lander (17-8, 8-4) and Augusta State (10-10, 6-4) with five games left for the Bobcats.
Also, the Jaguars' hopes of defending the PBAC North Division title are shaky.
Should Augusta State and Lander finish tied, the Jaguars would hold the tiebreaker. However, Augusta State still has tough tests against Georgia College & State and Armstrong Atlantic State, while the Senators face only one opponent in their final four games with a winning record in the conference.
Ron Spry began the season with 385 career wins and needs six more to reach No. 400. Paine (9-10, 7-4 SIAC) has five more regular-season games along with at least one game in the conference tournament.
Paine plays host to Benedict College in its homecoming game Saturday at the Augusta State Athletic Complex, not Carter Gym. The Lady Lions will begin at 6 p.m., while the Lions play at 8.
"Benedict has a good ballclub," Spry said. "They've beaten several SIAC schools this year."
The Pacers will hold their annual sports auction in the Student Activities Center gymnasium on Feb. 26 15 minutes following the conclusion of the men's game with Georgia College & State, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.
It will be a live auction and is free with admission to the Pacers' games. Some of the items for bid include vacation getaways to Hilton Head, S.C., autographed baseballs, Lou Holtz and Tommy Bowden autographed footballs, tennis and golf equipment and a Mark O'Meara framed and matted picture from the Masters Tournament.
For more information, contact Randy Warrick at (803) 641-3406.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.