Stingy defense propels Lady 'Pack to victory

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Starr's Mill girls basketball coach Whitt Jones sounded like most of the coaches before him.

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Greenbrier's Sara Oland drives to the basket during a 65-30 win in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs Friday.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Greenbrier's Sara Oland drives to the basket during a 65-30 win in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs Friday.

"Greenbrier does a very good job pressuring the ball," he said. "We had a mismatch on the post, but we had problems getting the ball up the floor."

It's the same story other opposing coaches have faced this season when playing the Lady Wolfpack. The 65-30 home victory in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs Friday was the 22nd time this season the Lady Wolfpack have won by 25 points or more.

The win over fourth-seeded Starr's Mill improved Greenbrier's undefeated record to 29-0 on the season. It came the same way the others wins have - with defense.

"I just turn them lose and watch," Greenbrier coach Garrett Black said. "Defensively we really got after it tonight."

The Lady Wolfpack didn't waste time in their quest to return to the Class AAAA state semifinals. Greenbrier's defense and full-court press forced 12 Starr's Mill turnovers in a first quarter that ended with a 15-2 Lady Wolfpack lead. A lay-up from 6-1 center Alexis Shaffer with 21 seconds left in the opening quarter was the only bucket Greenbrier allowed.

By halftime, Starr's Mill had 13 points while Greenbrier senior Tiffany Blackburn had 10. She finished with a game-high 20 points on four 3-pointers.

"She'll sneak up on you. We get caught up with Tiffany on her 3-pointers, but she's also been a big help on the weakside post," Black said. "Everybody talks about the 3-pointers, but for us to be successful we've got to compete on the boards."

Greenbrier's rebounding was enough to hand Starr's Mill (11-18) its biggest loss of the season. The Lady Wolfpack outscored their opponent 21-7 in the third quarter and pulled off a 14-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Greenbrier senior Michelle Swiec scored 13 points, while junior Sara Oland added 12 points. No Starr's Mill player scored more than 10.

"It was another team effort. We really wanted to get back to Macon," Blackburn said. "It's our responsibility as seniors to get the girls ready and tell them how important this is."

Macon's Mercer University will be the site for the next two rounds of the Class AAAA state tournament.

Greenbrier's second-round game will take place on Friday, March 1 at 4 p.m.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com


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