"Those kids, you got a glimpse of what the future is here. Those kids are going to be tremendous players."
While the victor was the same, the style of the game and intensity was markedly different than when SC defeated Greenbrier East 67-41 on Feb. 21.
"Coach told us this one was going to be big, because it's the regional championship," Kincaid said. "We knew we weren't going to come out here and smack them like we did last time. He just said come out here, play the same game. We knew they were going to have their runs and we were going to have our runs. We just came out, played hard and came out with the win."
In the first matchup, the Black Eagles led by six at halftime before cruising to a 26-point win. On Thursday, SC led 30-18 at halftime, but Greenbrier East clawed back into the contest in the third quarter.
Twice, the Spartans cut the deficit to four points in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Black Eagles led by as few as three, but Greenbrier East never pulled any closer thanks to the efforts of Knapper and Grier. Until senior Hunter Moles sank two free throws with 1:19 left in the game, the freshmen duo accounted for every SC point in the fourth quarter.
The freshmen carried the Black Eagles in the clutch Thursday, but without seniors like Kincaid, SC wouldn't have been in position to reach the state tournament.
"I just want to get a championship for my seniors," Knapper said. "Me and the seniors have been working hard together and we're a close team. I'm a freshman, I come up to varsity and they treat me like I'm one of theirs, like we're brothers."
Playing at the state tournament is nothing new for Kincaid, but the senior said he's ready to bring the title back to SC finally, something that's escaped the Black Eagles since 1959.
"Our senior year, we've been waiting on this moment since we were freshmen, talking about it," Kincaid said. "We want to bring this one home for SC. They haven't won since like maybe 1957, something like that, so we just want to bring this one home for the fans out there. They really give us a lot of support out on the court, and our coaches believe in us so much."
With the emergence of Knapper and Grier, the Black Eagles will be a tough draw for any opponent, as Harris' health should improve, and Cunningham is expected to be cleared to practice Saturday, Herbert said. Combine those factors with the consistent play of Kincaid and cast, and this could be the year SC brings home the elusive championship hardware.
Greenbrier East Coach Jim Justice was unavailable for comment.