After defeating No. 4 George Washington 64-42 on Dec. 19, and then going on the road and beating No. 3 Wheeling Park 48-47 on Dec. 22, the Greenbrier East High School Lady Spartans basketball team boarded a bus at 6 a.m. on Dec. 26 and made what turned out to be a 16-hour bus ride to Florida with extreme traffic.
They woke up the next morning for a 9:30 a.m. game against Westminster Academy, a 5A school out of Fort Lauderdale, FL, which came in with an 8-0 record. After falling behind 11-2 in the opening quarter, the Lady Spartans battled back and outscored the Lions 19-5 in the second quarter and led by as many as 12. Battling foul trouble, East bung on to win 58-57 to advance to the semifinals of the eight-team Red Bracket. The semifinal round included three undefeated teams and one with a single loss.
East’s semifinal opponent on Friday was Enka High School, out of Ashville, NC, which entered the game with a perfect 7-0 record. A back and forth game from start to finish saw the Lady Spartans battle back from a 10-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the closing minute. With four starters fouled out of the game, though, East couldn’t complete the job, falling 69-67 to the team MaxPreps had ranked as No. 1 in North Carolina.
Saturday’s final game for third place in the ultra-competitive Red Bracket put East up against a hometown team Class 8A Windermere out of Orange County Florida. The school with an enrollment of nearly 3,500 students came into the game with a 9-2 record. This time, Greenbrier East started fast and held off a charge from the Wolverines in the second and third quarters to pull away for a 44-28 victory.
The Lady Spartans ultimately finished third in the prestigious KSA Holiday Tournament and returned home, after visits to Disney, Universal and the Camping World Bowl, with a 9-1 record. East will next be in action on Saturday against sectional rival Woodrow Wilson.