A bad day leading up to Greenbrier's Region 3-AAAA semifinals game against Statesboro on Friday night had Lady Wolfpack girls basketball coach Garrett Black concerned.
"I was worried about tonight. Statesboro has a good ball club, and we didn't have a very good practice," he said.
He had nothing to worry about.
Greenbrier (27-0) kept their record unblemished in an easy 61-36 win over Statesboro. The Lady Wolfpack led 17-4 at one point in the first quarter. Their 42-15 halftime lead grew to a 34-point advantage in the second half.
"Tonight we looked like we were on a mission in the first half," Black said. "Give credit to the seniors. They got the message."
That message changed the team's effort from a sluggish Thursday practice to a near-perfect Friday game. A pregame meeting on Friday grabbed the attention of the team's seniors. They did the rest.
"Coach preaches our responsibility," senior Brooke Jackson said. "He told us it was our job to let the others know how big this was."
The game's importance was two-fold. The win not only advanced the Lady Wolfpack to the region finals for the third consecutive year, but it also secured a home game in the first round of the state playoffs.
With so much on the line, Greenbrier's win Friday night came from a complete team effort. Despite 61 total points, no Lady Wolfpack scorer had more than 13. Greenbrier's 3-point shooting in the first half (7-for-16) came from six different shooters.
"It was an overall team effort. Every time we play it's a team effort," said senior Tiffany Blackburn, who scored 12 points.
Junior Sara Oland scored 13 points for Greenbrier and added three 3-pointers and four steals. No Statesboro player hit double figures in scoring, and the team shot only 24.4 percent (10 of 41) from the field.
Greenbrier will face Glynn Academy in the Region 3-AAAA finals today at 5 p.m. at Richmond Academy.
Despite reaching the state semifinals last season and the state quarterfinals the year before, Greenbrier has never won a region championship.
"The kids are starting to feel it," Black said.
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.