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Greenbrier sweeps Statesboro and the boys win first ever regular season Region Championship



Greenbrier defeated Statesboro 58-54 at home Tuesday to clinch the first regular season region championship in program history. The team has won eight straight region games and eleven of its last thirteen overall heading into the regular season finale. Greenbrier has earned the No. 1 seed in its (class 5A) region tournament, a bye into the semifinal round and therefore an automatic bid to the state playoffs.

Fourth year head coach Dee Howard reflected on his team’s accomplishment after shaking hands with the opponents Tuesday night.

“It means a lot, knowing the work that we put in, the ups and downs of the season,” Howard said. “To see it coming to fruition on the back end means a whole lot.”

But Howard knows there is still work ahead, especially because the difference between a win and a loss in the semifinal round of the region tournament is the difference between starting the state playoffs at home or on the road.

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“Being No. 1 in the regular season means there’s a bigger target on your back (in the region tournament),” Howard explained. “That’s what it is. It’s the regular season. We still have to go play in the (region) tournament. But we punched our ticket to state, and I’m very proud of the way the boys played tonight.

Howard had good reason to be proud because his young team (there’s only one senior on the roster) played to its strengths wonderfully in Tuesday’s clincher. Junior Jackson Jennings (20 points), sophomore Ty Jones (15) and junior Cam Parada (13) led the way for the Wolfpack. But the victory was an all around team effort.

Parada, a sharp shooting junior wing, scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Parada made 3 three pointers during that span. Two of them came on consecutive possessions at the end of the first quarter to help Greenbrier exit the period tied at 15. And the third came on the final play of the second quarter to give the Wolfpack a 33-30 halftime lead.

Jennings, also a junior, scored 12 of his 20 points during the third quarter. Twice Jennings finished above the rim and over a contesting defender. But both times it was apparent he wanted to dunk the ball and couldn’t quite turn it over. The third time was the charm when Jennings caught pass on the right wing, drove baseline and dunked it on the stride with one hand.

Cam Parada drives baseline for Greenbrier in Tuesday’s game against Statesboro. Photo by Chad Cook.

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Jones, a 5’6” sophomore point guard, consistently penetrated Stateboro’s defense and shot 13 free throws in the process. Statesboro’s entire team only shot 16 free throws by comparison. Jones and fellow sophomore Martez Ford also made the two most important defensive plays of the game during the final minute when Statesboro had reduced what was once a 10-point deficit to two. Statesboro’s 6’7” center Leslie Black, who led the Blue Devils with 16 points, caught Jones on a switch twice down the stretch. But despite the size difference, Jones found a way to block out Black the first time. Jones even drew an over the back foul on Black. And the second time Jones switched onto Black in the post, Greenbrier brought an extra defender to double team. Ford then helped the helper and stole the pass to the temporarily open man in the corner.

Howard commended his sophomore guards for their game saving plays.

“It’s a young backcourt,” Howard started. ”Both of those guys are sophomores. They played big time minutes for us as freshmen. Those minutes came up big tonight. Ty with the box out on arguably one of the best big men in the state. He boxed him out. 5’6” against 6’7”. That was a key block out. And then at the end, Martez Ford dropped to the back side like we work on every day in practice. He made the biggest stop of the night.”

Lady Wolfpack Prevail in Top Ten Matchup

The No. 6 ranked Lady Wolfpack topped No. 10 Statesboro 54-47 to help the team’s chances in earning a No. 2 seed in the upcoming region tournament. Greenbrier improved to 17-7 overall and 6-3 in region play, joining Ware County (6-3) and Statesboro (5-3) in a three-way tie for second in the region. The results during the next week will determine which of the three teams will join regular season champion Bradwell Institute in earning a bye into the semifinal round of the region tournament.

Zuri Goldsberry scored 18 points, Caitlin Staley added 12 and Trinity Barrow chipped in 11 to lead the Lady Wolfpack to victory.

Follow Chad Cook’s coverage of local sports on Facebook and Instagram at @AugustaPressSports, and on Twitter at @AugPressSports. 

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