Basketball Previews

High Schools Getting Basketball Seasons Underway
Posted on 11/28/2022
Lady Jags Hoping to Replicate Last Season’s Success

Coming off a Final Four berth last season, New Manchester High School’s Lady Jaguars enter the 2022-2023 season with a new roster but similar goals to last year. 

“Last year we made it to the Final Four, and this year we have somewhat of a different group, but we’re still expecting big things from them,” said Lady Jaguars head coach Vincent Parks. “We’re still expecting to compete for the region and make it back to the state tournament once again.”

This year, the Lady Jaguars will rely on a mixture of youth and limited experience this year after losing All-State selection Kharyssa Richardson. But despite being less battle tested, Parks believes this year’s team will have more depth, which will be an advantage over the course of a long season. NMHS Girls Basketball Team Photo

“The difference between this year’s team and last years is that surprisingly we’re deeper and have more girls ready to play,” Parks said. “That will definitely help us out throughout the strenuous season in a new region.”

This year, the Lady Jags will lean on several players to carry the load, including Andrea Guilford, Taniya James, Ashanti Lewis, Amaya Broadus, Kyara Lawrence, Janitra Brown and Paige Fears. 

Along with having several new faces on the team, NMHS will also face new competition, as they move to a new region this season. In Region 5-6A, the Lady Jags will see two teams who made the Class 6A state tournament last season, including a Langston Hughes team that advanced to the second round. The region also includes in-county rivals Douglas County and Alexander high schools. 

The Lady Jags tip off the 2022-2023 season on November 15 at Hiram High School. 

Jaguars Looking to Continue Strong Tradition Under New Leadership

After advancing to the second round of the state playoffs last season, Jaguars first-year head coach Greg Martin enters 2022-2023 looking to continue the program’s winning tradition. This year, Martin will be tasked with doing it with a new group, as the team graduated several players who were present for last year’s run. 

“This is my first year, and I’m really excited about this group,” Martin said. “We’re an inexperienced team, but we do have a lot of athletic ability and a lot of strong leaders who have stepped up.”

Despite losing a lot of production from last year’s squad, the Jaguars enter expecting big things from players like Amir Banks, Tyler Baldwin, Jermaine Hines, Chasen Allen and Allen Stoddard. 

NMHS Boys Basketball Team PhotoWith his team’s athleticism as a strength, they are well suited to compete in a tough new Region 5-6A that features in-county foes Douglas County High School and Alexander High School, who is ranked No. 2 in the state. The region also features Langston Hughes, who was a Class 6A Final Four participant last year and Class 6A state playoff qualifier Paulding County. 

“I’m really excited about the leaders who have stepped up for us so far,” Martin said. “I think that leadership ability will get us through some of that lack of experience. Our practices have been very good, and I’ve been very impressed. We’ve been able to implement some schemes that I thought would take us longer to put in, so it’s been really satisfying to see everything come together thus far.”

The Jaguars will begin the season on November 12 at Stephenson High School.

Lady Lions Looking to Continue State Streak

For the past several years, the Lithia Springs High School’s Lady Lions have been a mainstay in the state playoffs, having made an appearance each of the last eight seasons. This year, LSHS looks to continue building on this strong tradition with another playoff berth and a run behind the squad’s first group of seniors in three seasons.

“We’ve got a great group of kids in the program this year,” said LSHS head coach David Mills. “We finally have seniors after three years without having any, and we expect a lot out of them in terms of leadership.”

With this year’s experienced group of seniors, Mills is hoping this will be one of the key factors that propels the Lady Lions to a deep run in the state tournament. Among the players LSHS will lean on are Ayana Richmond, who was a Region 6-5A Second-Team selection after last season, and Mya Harris. 

LSHS Girls Basketball Team PhotoThis year, the Lady Lions will compete in a new Region 5-5A, which will include crosstown foe Chapel Hill High School, along with several other teams who qualified for the state tournament last season from Atlanta and Fulton County.

“It’s going to be a challenging season. I’ve set up probably the toughest schedule we’ve had in the 12 years I’ve been at LSHS,” Mills said. “We’ve definitely got some challenges, but we’re looking forward to taking them on and overcoming them this season.”

The Lady Lions open the season November 21 against Pace Academy.

Lions Looking for Another Strong Season

After missing out on the state playoffs last season, Lithia Springs High School’s boys basketball team is ready to get the year underway and make a push for a playoff berth in 2022-23. 

“We’re really looking forward to the season. Anytime you graduate the amount of seniors that we had last year, it’s good because you’ve got a lot of new, fresh blood coming into the program,” said LSHS head coach Keith Simmons. “A lot of people are vying for positions, so it creates a good sense of competition at practice, especially in the early part of the season.”

This season, the Lions will have a tough road ahead of them. Along with having several new players at key positions, they enter a new Region 5-5A that includes several tough opponents, including last season’s Class 5A state champions Tri-Cities and in-county foe Chapel Hill High School who qualified for the state playoffs last year as well. 

However, Simmons and the Lions are embracing the challenge, as they have several returning players who will be looking to help lead the team into the playoffs. This year, LSHS will rely on the combination of Damerius Putmon, Jai’Que Hart, Cole Nash, Ziair Finch and Kisean Robinson to lead the charge. LSHS Boys Basketball Team Photo

Along with these upperclassmen, Simmons is confident about several underclassmen as well that he believes can step in and contribute this year. 

“I think we’ve got a good mix of older guys who are looking to step in and be leaders with some young guys who have a very promising future for us,” Simmons said. “With such a tough region with nine good teams, everybody is going to be battle tested, and all of the teams who come out of there will be ready for the state playoffs.”

The Lions will continue their season on November 21 in a tournament against Beach High School.

Lady Tigers Seeking Return to State Tournament

In his 43rd year leading the Lady Tigers program, Chet Forsch is as excited about this team as any he’s had in the past. After narrowly missing out on last season’s state tournament, Force is hopeful that last year’s disappointment will help motivate this year’s team. 

“We’re really looking forward to this season. We were a little disappointed that we didn’t quite make the state playoffs last year,” Forsch said. “We were close, but lost on a controversial finish at the buzzer last year, so we’re hoping not to find ourselves in that situation again this year.”

This year, the Lady Tigers will return a seasoned group from last year’s team, which will be led by All-Region Second-Team honoree Daija Preston and All-Region Honorable Mention recipient Jocelyn Faison. 

Along with these two, DCHS will also lean on Skylar Soli, Lyric Coleman, Ashley Ramos-Mayorga, and Destiny Davis. DCHS Girls Basketball Team Photo

With a veteran, battle-tested team coming back, the Lady Tigers are well positioned to compete in a new Region 5-6A that includes three teams that qualified for the state tournament last season, including in-county rival New Manchester High School, who qualified for the Final Four last year.

DCHS’ hunt for the state playoffs began on November 15, and they will open up their region schedule on December 8 at South Paulding High School.

Tigers Looking to Rebound Under New Leadership

In his first season as leader of the Douglas County High School boys basketball team, Duane Kelley has a simple goal in mind – to see the Tigers program grow into the best program in the county. 

Kelley comes to DCHS from Lithia Springs High School, where he was an assistant coach last season. In year one, Kelley says that he’s seen great buy-in from his players and is excited to begin the new season. 

DCHS Boys Team Photo“Our kids are working really hard and practicing well to prepare for the new season,” Kelley said. “This season, I’ve really got a few simple goals for us. We want to qualify for state, win the region, and put DCHS back on the map as the top program in the county and one of the best in the state.”

To do this, Kelley will need to replace two All-Region Honorable Mention performers last season. Leading the charge will be senior guard Arthur Johnson, who was named to the preseason All-State Third Team. 

Along with Johnson, the Tigers will lean on guards Mekhi Kennedy, Braden Goines, Cole Henry, Braden Uhuru, and forward Shamar Echols to lead the charge this season. 

Entering his first season at the helm, Kelley will inherit a new, competitive Region 5-6A, which includes in-county rivals New Manchester and Alexander High School, who enters ranked No. 2 in the state. 

Along with these, the Tigers will also see Langston Hughes High School, who competed in the Class 6A Final Four last season, and Paulding County High School, who was a state playoff qualifier last season. 

The Tigers kicked off their state playoff quest on November 15 against Banneker High School, and they will begin their pursuit of a region title December 8 against South Paulding High School.

Lady Panthers Hungry for Success in New Region

Entering the 2022-23 season, Chapel Hill High School’s Lady Panthers have a mix of veteran leadership and youth that head coach Lauren Revesz hopes can help the team find more success this season. 

“This is my second season and head coach, and we’re very excited to get this season underway,” Revesz said. “We’ve got a lot of new girls and a lot of young girls that are very hungry. We’re playing in a new region this year, and we’re expecting a lot of big things this year.”

CHHS Girls Basketball Team PhotoEntering the season, the Lady Panthers will need to replace production from Nadia Barbary, who was a Second-Team All-Region performer last season. However, the team will have several girls capable of carrying the load, as they will rely on players like Naya Miller, Shelbie Hutto, Emahni Chambliss, Teleah Dunbar and Maleah Rice to carry the load. 

With their sites set on the state tournament, the Lady Panthers will compete in a new Region 5-5A. The nine-team region features in-county opponent Lithia Springs High School, along with several other schools from Atlanta and Fulton County that qualified for the state tournament last year. 

CHHS began the new season on November 14 with a win over Paideia, and they will step into region play on December 6 against Tri-Cities.

Panthers Eyeing Another Deep Playoff Run

In his first season at the helm of the Chapel Hill High School boys basketball program, Mike Artis returns a lot of talent from a team that made the Elite Eight last season and took eventual state champion Tri-Cities to the wire before dropping their final game. 

“I’m looking forward to leading this group of young men. They’ve done a really good job of making the Elite Eight last year and the Final Four the year before that, so I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Artis said. “I have some good upperclassmen who have been there before and been through some things and seen some battles with a good group of juniors and sophomores who we’ll rely on to help lead the way.”

This season, CHHS finds itself on a collision course with Tri-Cities once again, as the two share a region in the new Region 5-5A, but the Panthers are excited for the challenge of having to see the reigning state champions twice this season. CHHS Boys Basketball Team Photo

To get past the Bulldogs and the rest of their region competition, CHHS will need to replace reigning Region 6-5A Player of the Year and All-State selection Chi Shannon. 

To do this, they will lean on a group of experienced contributors from last year’s team led by Kelvin Hunter, who earned Second-Team All-Region honors last year. Along with Hunter, guards Rod Payne, Khirus Doucet and Oray Towns III will be counted on to be key contributors on both ends for the Panthers.

“As always our goal is to win the region championship and be in the region championship conversation,” Artis said. “Beyond that, we want to get into the state tournament and see where the chips may fall. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m blessed to have this group of guys for this season.”

CHHS began its season on November 12, and they will begin their pursuit of a region title on December 6 against Tri-Cities at home.

Lady Cougars Leaning on Balanced Roster

Alexander High School’s Lady Cougars missed the state tournament last season, but head coach Dallas Smith is hopeful that the lessons learned from last season will help propel the team into the tournament this year. 

“I’m looking forward to a great season with this group. The team culture they have is really something special and I look forward to coaching them every day. They work hard, they battle every day at practice, so we’re really looking forward to this season.”

AHS Girls Basketball Team PhotoEntering the season, AHS will lean on returning players Katlin Gould, Tatiana Tanksley, Meghan Ritchie and Nevaeh Clophus to lead a team with a mixture of veteran and younger players. 

“We have three seniors, three juniors, and a handful of underclassmen,” Smith said, “so I’m really excited about this group and all that they bring.”

This year, the Cougars find themselves in a new Region 5-6A that includes county rivals New Manchester, who competed in the Final Four last season, and Douglas County High School. Along with these two teams, the eight-team region will also feature two other teams that qualified for the state tournament last season. 

The Lady Cougars began their season on November 12 with a victory over McDonough. They will enter region play on December 6 against South Paulding High School.

Veteran Cougars Eyeing Deep Playoff Run

Last season, Alexander High School’s boys basketball team fell in the second round to eventual state champion Grovetown High School. This season, the Cougars return many key pieces from that team, which has them sitting at No. 2 in the Class 6A preseason rankings. 

“We’re really looking forward to getting started this season. We return a lot of key guys from last year’s team that went 24-5 and won the region championship and finished second in the region tournament,” said Cougars head coach Jason Slate. “WIth the guys coming back, we had a very productive summer. We’re going into this year with high expectations.”

Entering 2022-23, the Cougars bring back Second-Team All-Region performer Braeden Lue, along with All-Region Honorable Mention recipient Noah Melson. 

AHS Boys Team PhotoBeside Lue and Melson, the Cougars will also count on guards Milan Kennedy, Jay’Quan Nelson, Marvin McGhee, and forward Jazzdon Streeter. 

With such a strong returning group, Slate says the team’s goals are high as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“We feel like we have a chance to compete for a state championship this year, and that’s our overall goal. Our guys are working hard, and they’re excited for the challenge of this season,” Slate said. “We’re hoping to continue to get better and hopefully compete for the state title.”

To make the state playoffs, AHS will have to navigate a new region schedule that features two county rivals in Douglas County and New Manchester high schools, as well as two other teams ranked in the top 10 in the state in Langston Hughes and Paulding County high schools. 

The Cougars began their season on November 16 against Cumberland Christian Academy, and they will open their region schedule on December 6 versus South Paulding High School.

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