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High school basketball: Girls Previews
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High school basketball: Season Preview

High school basketball: Boys Previews

Starting five

Andraya Carter

Sr., Buford

Position: Guard

Height: 5-8

Notable: Carter averaged 14.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game and 3.7 steals per game to lead the Lady Wolves to the Class AA championship. She is the two-time Class AA Player of the Year.

Kaela Davis

Jr., Buford

Position: Guard/forward

Height: 6-0

Notable: Averaged 17.5 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game, 2.5 steals per game, and was 42 percent on 3-pointers as a key piece in Buford’s state championship team. 

Jasmine Jenkins

Sr., East Hall

Position: Point guard

Height: 5-8

Notable: Averaged 15.6 points per game, 7 rebounds per game and 3.7 assists per game as a junior. Has signed to play at Vanderbilt.

Rebecca Webster

Sr., Gainesville

Position: Forward/center

Height: 6-0

Notable: Averaged 13.3 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and was a 67 percent free throw shooter in leading the Lady Red Elephants to a second-place finish in Region 8-AAA South.

Haley Gerrin

Jr., Habersham Central

Position: Center

Height: 6-1

Notable: As a sophomore she averaged 15 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, 1.5 steals per game, and was a 52 percent field goal shooter and 70 percent from the free throw line.

Banks County

Coach: Jerry King

Region: 8-AA North

2010-2011 record: 11-16

Returning Starters: SG Madison Franklin (5-8, Sr.; 9.3 ppg), PG Deasha Beasley (5-9, Sr.; 7.5 ppg), PG Taylor Kennedy (5-10, So.; 9.6 ppg)

Key losses: SF Terri Cregar

Key newcomers: SF Katlyin Duncan (6-2, Fr.)

Notable: Among the two starters the Leopards lost from last year’s team is Cregar, who led the team in rebounds and charges taken. ... The guard-oriented Lady Leopards will look to replace her presence down low early in the season. ... Katlyin Parks, who will add depth to the post rotation, and Ashley Morris are coming back from knee injuries and should be key for Banks County.

Team Previews


Coach: Gene Durden

Region: 6A-AA

2010-11 record: 29-3; Region 6-AA champions, Class AA state champions

Returning starters: PG Andraya Carter (5-8, Sr.; 14.3 ppg, 3.8 spg); G/F Kaela Davis (6-2, Jr.; 18.2 ppg)

Key losses: F Sheresse Williams (8 ppg, 6 rpg)

Key newcomers: F Kristina Nelson (6-3, Jr.; Division-I prospect and transfer from Greater Atlanta Christian); G Kallie Case (5-5 Sr.)

Notable: Buford lost five seniors off of last year’s state championship team, but the biggest loss could potentially be Carter, the two-time Class AA Player of the Year, who is recovering from a torn ACL and is questionable to play this season according to Durden. ... The Lady Wolves could get a boost from Nelson, a transfer from Greater Atlanta Christian and Division-I prospect ranked among the best juniors in the country. ... Davis and Carter, both Tennessee commits, are also ranked among the nation’s best in their respective classes. ... Case is back with the team for the first time since her freshman season.


Coach: Web Daniel

Region: 8-AAA North

2010-11 record: 23-7, Lost in second round of state tournament

Returning starters: SG Erin Clifford (5-4, Jr.; 5.5 ppg, 33 percent 3-pt FG); PG Samantha Brown (5-9, Jr.; 6 ppg)

Key losses: C Peyton Robertson (17 ppg, 8 rpg), PF Rachel Kelley (8 ppg, 7 rpg); PF Melissa Bailey (8 ppg, 2 spg)

Key newcomers: C Meagan Kennimer (6-2, Jr.); PF Danielle Stephens (5-10, Jr.); PG Bridgette Kelley (5-5, So.)

Notable: This year’s team is talented, but young, having no seniors and just two returning starters from a year ago. ... None of the top three scorers from last season are still on the roster, including leading scorer and rebounder Robertson. ... Daniel expects some early-season struggles, but said the team should contend in the region once the younger players adjust to the speed and physicality of varsity play.


Coach: Rex Gregg

Region: 8-A

2010-2011 record: 8-14

Returning Starters: F Hanna Davis (5-9, So.); F Lily Mather (5-9, So.); PG Drea Mathis (5-0, Sr.)

Key losses: G Jazz Grier (16 ppg, 10 rpg), F Vanessa Chandler

Key newcomers: F Erica Greene (5-6, Sr.); F Allie Morgan (5-6, Sr.); G/F Madison Maddox (5-5, Jr.), F Jessie Kyle (5-8, Sr.); F McClain Martin (5-6, Jr.)

Notable: Gregg is back to the basketball court after a five-year hiatus from coaching. ... He coached the Commerce boys team for 27 years before current coach Chad Bridges. ... The Tigers will play the same under the same offensive and defensive schemes as they did a year ago. ... Gregg plans to use an eight-player rotation and will get younger players more involved as the season goes progresses.

Dawson County

Coach: Steve Sweat

Region: 8-AA North

2010-11 record: 11-13; Lost in first round of region tournament

Returning starters: PG Carly Gilreath (5-8, Jr.; 11 ppg); C Allie Costley (5-11, Jr.; 8.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg)

Key newcomers: C Sheyenne Seabolt (5-11, Fr.); C Ashley Parker (5-9, Fr.)

Notable: The Lady Tigers will be young, with just two seniors on the team. ... Sweat said that he would like his team to play fast, running and pressing as much as possible. ... The Lady Tigers are going for their first winning season since 2004-05.

East Hall

Coach: Joey Rider

Region: 8-AA North

2010-11 record: 17-12; lost in first round of playoffs

Returning starters: G Jasmine Jenkins (5-8, Sr.; 15.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.7 apg); G/F Morgan Jackson (5-11, Sr.; 12.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

Key losses: F Natalie Johnson

Key newcomers: Harlee Grogan (5-11, Sr.), Natalie Winters (5-10, So.), Chelsea Dale (5-6, Fr.), Jatasia Bailey (5-8, Fr.)

Notable: The Lady Vikings graduated four seniors from the program, but return the top two scorers, both four-year seniors, from a team that finished fourth in Region 8-AA. ... East Hall will once again play an extremely up-tempo brand of basketball, with a lot of press on defense. ... Rider expects the bench to be deeper this season. ... Jenkins and Jackson recently signed their college letters of intent; Jenkins is Vanderbilt bound, while Jackson will play at Georgia State.

Flowery Branch

Coach: Hazel Hall

Region: 8-AAAA

2010-11 record: 10-20; lost in first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: F Tavia Sykes (5-10, Jr; 13 ppg, 6 rpg); SG Jacy Ramey (5-7, Jr.; 8 ppg, 6 rpg, PF Cara Chilton (5-11, Sr.; 7 ppg, 5 rpg), SG Marissa Ivey (5-5, Jr.; 6 ppg, 3 apg). 

Notable: Flowery Branch built plenty of momentum at the end of 2011 that should carry over this season. ... The Lady Falcons return four starters with solid offensive numbers. ... Flowery Branch is coming off a trip to the Region 8-AAAA title game, despite a .333 winning percent leading into the tournament. ... Flowery Branch opens play Saturday in the Jefferson High tourney, including a preview of region play with a game against Cedar Shoals that day. 


Coach: Brenda Hill-Gilmore

Region: 8-AAA South

2010-11 record: 14-12, 

Returning starters: F Rebecca Webster (6-1 Sr.; 13.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 67 percent FT); G Chelsea Young (5-6 Sr.); G Aleah Kendrick (5-9 Jr.)

Key losses: G Mikalyn DeFoor (7.6 ppg)

Key newcomers: C Sophia Jackson; PG Kabree Randolph

Notable: Gainesville has a new coach in Hill-Gilmore after the retirement of longtime coach Manson Hill, who led the team to four state titles. ... Hill-Gilmore was an assistant coach on three of those championship teams, and helped  coach daughter Tasha Humphrey, who led the Lady Red Elephants before leading the Georgia women’s basketball team. ... The Lady Red Elephants will be looking for a return to the postseason; they missed the playoffs last year, ending a run of 14 straight appearances.

Habersham Central

Coach: John Hood

Region: 8-AAAA

2010-11 record: 19-8

Returning starters: F Haley Gerrin (6-1, Jr.; 15 ppg, 8 rpg); G Brianna Barrett (5-8, Jr.; 10.5 ppg, 5 rpg); F Emily Robinson (6-0, Sr.; 6.5 ppg, 6 rpg)

Key losses: PG Charlotte Lewallen (5 ppg), G Carly Sales (11 ppg)

Notable: Last year, the Lady Raiders posted the program’s first winning record since 2005, but failed to make the playoffs after a 47-44 loss to top-seeded Loganville in the region tournament. ... The team’s 19 wins were the fourth most in a single season in program history. ... While Sales, who had some bright moments as a sophomore, won’t play this year, the Lady Raiders are expecting a boost from 5-foot-9 forward Kerra Canup. The senior has fully recovered from a devastating knee injury that cost her the second half of last season. 

Jackson County

Coach: John Hawley

Region: 8-AA South

2010-11 record: 14-12

Returning starters: G Maci Latty (5-4, Sr.; 2 apg); F Katie Phillips (5-10, So.; 4 ppg, 1.3 spg); PF Dani Cunningham (5-9, Sr; 3 ppg, 5 rpg)

Key losses: G Ashley Skelton (14.8 ppg, 5 rpg)

Notable: Graduated seniors, including Skelton, Bre Drew, Emily Elrod and Sierra Roncadori, accounted for 60 percent of the Lady Panthers’ offense last year. ... Six players with significant varsity experience return, including three who logged starting time last season. ... Junior Victoria Fontana is expected to be one of the leaders offensively as the team finds its identity early in the season; she averaged 8.2 points per game last season off the bench.


Coach: Jason Gibson

Region: 8-AA South

2010-11 record: 15-11

Returning starters: SG Skylar Evanson (Sr.; 12 ppg, 42 percent 3-point FG); SF Kellie Goza (So.; 8 ppg); PF Bailey Boyd (So.; 10 ppg)

Notable: With only three seniors on the roster, the Lady Dragons remain a young team, but seven players who played key roles on last year’s team are back. ... Senior forwards Rachel Goza and Brianna Whatley, and junior Sara Wood combined to average 16 rebounds per game last season, when Jefferson finished third in the 8-AA South. ... Jefferson is looking for its first playoff berth since 2007.


Coach: Kory Bays

Region: 8-AAA South

2010-11 record: 15-12

Returning starters: PG Ryleigh Shannon (5-3, Jr.; 5 ppg, 3 rpg, 4 apg), G Harlee Robson (5-3, Sr.; 5 ppg), SG Lyndsey Pethel (5-7, Sr.; 5 ppg, 4 rpg), SF Emily Byers (4 ppg, 3 rpg).

Key losses: PF Caitlin Sloan (14 ppg, 5 rpg).

Key newcomers: PF Natoyia Randolph (5-10, Sr.).

Notable: The Johnson girls have the look of a program on an upswing. ... After a two-win 2010 season, the Lady Knights bumped that up to 15 last season and a third-place finish in the subregion. ... Johnson has depth back with four of its five starters from 2011 back on the court, even though its leading scorer graduated. ... Bays hopes that Randolph, a transfer, can add some depth to the program with her height.

Lakeview Academy

Coach: John Carrick

Region: 8A-A

2010-11 record: 3-21; Lost in first round of region tournament

Returning starters: G/F Molly Gay (5-8, Sr.; 3 ppg, 3 rpg); C Mona Abraham (5-8, Sr.; 4 ppg, 6 rpg); G Taylor Handte (5-7, Jr.; 10 ppg, 2 rpg)

Key losses: PG Amber Whitlock (4 ppg, 2 rpg)

Key newcomers: PG Kelsey Gilbert (5-8, Sr.); G/F Katie White (5-8, Fr.)

Notable: Despite winning just three games a season ago, Carrick said he had high expectations for the Lady Lions this year, citing an increased level of experience. ... Handte was the team’s leading scorer a year ago, and Carrick said he expects increased production out of the junior guard in 2011. ... This will be Gilbert’s first year at Lakeview; she attended East Hall the past two years, and played basketball as a freshman.

Lumpkin County

Coach: Greg Murray

Region: 8-AAA North

2010-11 record: 3-23; Lost in first round of region tournament

Returning starters: C Erica Barker (6-0, Sr.); PG Brittany McClain (5-3, Jr.); PF Morgan Wood (5-6, Jr.)

Key newcomers: G Allyson Gentry (5-6, So.); G Randi Malone (5-5, So.); PF Dakota Sullens (6-0, So.)

Notable: The team has just one senior and two juniors on its roster. ... Murray noted that he has three freshmen who will dress for the varsity team. ... The Lady Indians have some size, including three six-footers, and that size doesn’t cost the team in athleticism, Murray said.

North Hall 

Coach: Kristi House

Region: 8-AAA North

2010-11 record: 15-14; first round of state playoffs

Returning starters: G/F McKenna Rushton (5-9, Sr.; 11 ppg, 7 rpg); G Mary Kate Rushton (5-9, Sr.; 14 ppg); PG Taylor Swoszowski (5-5, Sr.; 6 ppg); G Tiffany Hamilton (5-5, Sr.; 4 ppg); F Sarah Paschall (5-8, Sr.; 6 ppg, 5 rpg)

Notable: The Lady Trojans return all five starters from last year’s playoff team. ...The team’s core group of seniors has a goal of competing for the region title and getting deeper into the state tournament. ... Twins Mary Kate and McKenna Rushton have each scored more 800 career points.

Towns County

Coach: Jim Melton

Region: 8-A

2010-2011 record: 27-2; Region 8-A champions, lost in second round of state tournament

Returning Starters: G/F Ali Bleckley (5-11, Sr.; 7.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg); G Gabby Arencibia (5-10, Sr.; 15 ppg, 3.2 spg), F Lindsay Patton (5-9, Sr.; averaged a double-double in points and rebounds), F Dadrian Blythe (5-11, Jr.), PG Eryn Cochran (5-9, So.)

Key losses: F Jordan Moss (14 ppg, 12.2 rpg)

Key newcomers: F Kellsie Cowart (5-9, So.), G Stephanie Patton (5-9, Fr.), F Emily Anderson (5-9, Jr.)

Notable: The 2010-2011 Region 8-A Champions lose Jordan Moss, who was a staple of the program for four years (1,186 career points). ... The Lady Indians will return five players with starting experience, including their deep-threat, Arencibia, who broke a state record with 13 three-pointers in a game last season.

Union County

Coach: David Tucker

Region: 8-AA North

2010-11 record: 14-14; Lost in first round of state tournament

Returning starters: G/F Rebecka Merritt (5-9, Sr.; 10.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg); F/C Angie Hughes (6-0, Sr.; 8.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg); G/F Catie Tanner (Sr.; 7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg); G Callie Payne (Sr; 5.2 ppg, 1.8 apg)

Key losses: PG Holli Abernathy (8.3 ppg, 2.5 apg), G/F Tori Dyer (4.8 rpg, 2.3 spg)

Notable: The Lady Panthers return a strong core, including three starters on the front line who combined for approximately 27 points and 20 rebounds per game last season. ... Of the 12 players on the varsity roster, nine are juniors or seniors; the Lady Panthers will lean on that experienced group as they attempt to reach the postseason for the third time in four years.

West Hall

Coach: Lynn Jarrett

Region: 8-AAA South

2010-11 record: 9-17

Returning players: PF Kaelyn Gattis (5-11, Jr.), F Brooke Reed (5-8, Sr.), G Maia Booker (So.), PF Miranda Miller (5-7, Sr.).

Key losses: PF Amber Johnson (12 ppg, 6 rpg).

Key newcomers: PG Jessica Dambach (5-5, Sr.), SG Summer Schmeltz (5-6, Sr.).

Notable: Jarrett plans to utilize a more balanced attack and uptempo style. ... The Lady Spartans, whose tallest player is 5-11, hope to equalize a lack of height with aggressive defense to create more offensive opportunities.

White County

Coach: Buster Brown

Region: 8-AAA North

2010-11 record: 5-18

Returning starters: P Riley Slaton (5-10, Jr.; 9 ppg, 7 rpg), G Megan Deloach (5-5, Sr.; 4 ppg), F Shauna Anderson (5-7, Sr.; 10 ppg), G Taylor Freeman (5-5, Sr.; 6 ppg).

Key losses: PG Callie Deloach, SG Ashley Smith

Key newcomers: Jayme Lea Whitfield, Sr.; Kaitlyn Gearing, So.; Paige Thomas, Fr.

Notable: The Lady Warriors have struggled over the past three seasons, averaging four wins per year. ... Brown, the former girls coach at Lakeview Academy, enters his first season with the Lady Warriors. ... White County has a solid nucleus coming back, including four players with considerable varsity experience. ... The Lady Warriors tip-off the season against Holy Innocents’, a program that went 20-9 in Class A last season, on Saturday in Cleveland.

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