DCSS Basketball Previews

Basketball Season Underway for DCSS Squads
Posted on 12/13/2021

Basketball season is underway in Douglas County, and several teams are already off to great starts after impressive seasons last year. 


Though each team has experienced changes since last season, all are looking to earn a state playoff berth by season’s end.


Lady Jaguars Looking to go Back-to-Back

 

NMHS Girls basketball team

Last season, New Manchester High School (NMHS) boasted two of the most successful programs in Douglas County, with both of its teams capturing Region 6-5A championships and advancing into the Elite 8. 

In 2021-22, both the Jaguars and Lady Jaguars return many players from last season, and both are looking to repeat as region champions and make even deeper runs into the state playoffs.

“This year we have very high expectations because even though we lost three seniors, we have a good bit of the team coming back,” said Lady Jaguars head coach Vincent Parks. “We’re hoping to at least get back if not go further than we did last year.”

The Lady Jaguars bring back two preseason All-State selections in Kharyssa Richardson and Kamryn Bates. Richardson was last season’s Region 6-5A Player of the Year and earned All-State honors, while Bates was named a Second-Team All-Region performer. 


The team will also lean on senior guard India Johnson, who has a lot of experience playing at the varsity level in her four years at NMHS.


“We have big expectations for them, and they’ve done everything that we’ve asked them to do from the summer until this point,” Parks said. “At this point, we’re really just ready to play some basketball.”


Jaguars eyeing Region Title

NMHS Boys teamOn the men’s side, the goal is the same for head coach Chris Robinson and the Jaguars - to repeat as region champions and make an even deeper run into the state tournament.


“I’m looking to do the same thing, and go back-to-back,” said Jaguars head coach Chris Robinson. “I know it’s going to be tough, but I feel like we’ve got the pieces to do it and have the same accomplishments as we did last year.”


This season, the Jaguars will lean on four players who were key contributors from last season. Jordan Edmond, the team’s leader in scoring and blocked shots, was a First-Team All-Region selection last season, and sophomore guard Chase James-Robinson earned All-Region Honorable Mention recognition. 


Along with these two, Kaden Brown will reprise his role as the team’s defensive anchor, and Robert Winn steps into a starting role after being a key bench player last season. 


“My kids that left were amazing last year, but I feel like we’ve got a good group coming in,” said Robinson. “We’re going to play hard, play tough and do what we do.”


Lady Lions Leaning on Experience

LSHS Girls basketball team
Few teams around the state can say that they’re going for an eighth-consecutive trip to the state playoffs, but that’s exactly what Lithia Springs High School’s (LSHS) girls basketball team hopes to do in 2021-22. 

“As far as last year goes, we had a team full of 9th and 10th graders, but in a COVID year, we managed to scratch out enough wins in the region to keep our state run alive at seven,” said Lady Lions head coach David Mills.


This season, the team will rely on many of the contributors from last year to help guide the way. LSHS returns two players who received All-Region honors last season in juniors Cameryn Morris and Ayana Richmond. 


Morris also earned All-State Honorable Mention honors following last season, and she was named to the 2021-22 Preseason All-State Third Team prior to the start of this season.


The Lady Lions will also rely on junior Mya Harris to help round out their attack and lead the team. 


“We keep the same goals year in and year out,” Mills said. “We want to qualify for state, do the best we can in the region to earn a good seed for state, and when we get to state we want to be prepared so we can represent this school and our county the best we possibly can.”


Experience Key for Lions in 2021-22

LSHS Boys Basketball Team

LSHS’ men’s team will also be experienced this season, as they pair several returning seniors from last year’s state playoff team with new head coach Keith Simmons in hopes of finding more success in 2021-22.


Simmons is no stranger to Douglas County, as he was an assistant coach at Douglas County High School last season before moving across town. 


And in his first season at the helm for the Lions, Simmons will have a couple of All-Region performers leading the way. 


“The good thing about the team last year is that we did lose a couple of seniors, but we have a lot of seniors coming back that were juniors last year,” Simmons said. “That’s always good as a first-year coach because you can lean on a lot of the leadership the guys had from last year’s team.”


Senior guard Cristian Willis earned First-Team All-Region honors following last season, and fellow senior guard Christian Bishop was named to the Second-Team. 


Along with Willis and Bishop, LSHS will also look to seniors Langston Terry and Khalil Porter for leadership to help them reach the goal of making the state playoffs and advancing deep into the tournament. 


“As always, when we go in we’ve got the same goals - to win the region and win the state championship,” said Simmons. “I think we’ve got enough key pieces and senior leadership and young guys coming in to make that happen.”


Youth No Excuse for Lady Tigers 

DCHS Girls Basketball Team
When the Douglas County High School (DCHS) Lady Tigers take the court this season, they will be one of the youngest teams Head Coach Chet Forsh has had in his 49-year coaching career. 

“This year may be the youngest team I’ve had in a very long time,” Forsh said. “I only have one senior, four or five juniors, and after that it’s freshmen and sophomores.” 

 

Last season, the Lady Tigers finished 14-8 and earned Region 5-6A’s No. 3 seed in the state playoffs behind the leadership of two All-Region seniors. 

In 2021-22, Forsh says he’ll be looking to senior Whitni Mitchell and juniors Destiny Davis and Lyric Coleman to step up as leaders for the young team. Davis has been a varsity player since her freshman year, and both Mitchell and Coleman gained extensive experience during last year’s state playoff run. 

 

But despite being youthful, Forsh isn’t tempering his expectations for the squad. 

 

“When people ask me how we’re going to do, I say to them, ‘I can’t promise you how well we’re going to do, but I promise you they’ll play hard. Because if they don’t play hard, they don’t get to play,’” said Forsh. “That’s the way I’ve been over these many, many years.”

 

Tigers Look to Repeat with new Leader

 

DCHS Boys Basketball TeamEntering this season, the DCHS men’s team will be looking to replace Region 5-6A’s Player of the Year and Coach of the Year from last season as well as three other All-Region performers. 

 

However, first-year Tigers’ Head Coach Patrick Hardy feels up to the challenge thanks to a strong returning group that’s looking to replicate the success from the 2020-21 season. 

 

“As we get going with practice, it’s been enjoyable to meet the young men and work through some things,” said Hardy. “We’re excited and ready to get this thing rolling.”

 

In 2020-21, the Tigers finished atop Region 5-6A and were crowned region champions en route to a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs. 

 

To get back to the state playoffs and hopefully advance deeper into the tournament this season, the Tigers will lean on a quartet of senior guards to lead the way. Jaylen Gunn, Kenyon Moore, Vincent Robinson and Chris Ruise will each be counted on to help the team reach its goals.

 

“I’m excited for them and their growth and production as we go throughout this year,” Hardy said. “We’ll be counting on them a ton for their leadership and their play. We’re extremely excited for them and their year, as well as the other players with them.”


Panthers eyeing region, state championships

CHHS Boys Basketball Team

Last season, Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) surprised many with a Final Four run after entering the state tournament as the No. 4 seed from Region 6-5A. 


This year, the Panthers return several players from last year’s squad, and second-year head coach Rodney Latham is hoping to advance a step further and compete for a state championship in 2021-22. 


“Our goal is to first and foremost win the region championship, and then we want to win the state championship,” said Latham. “Now that we’ve gotten to the Final Four, we know what it takes, and our expectations are high.”


Among those returning are senior forward Chi Shannon, who was an All-Region Honorable Mention selection last season.


Along with Shannon, CHHS will also lean on another senior in Peyton Weathersby and juniors Khirus Doucet and Kelvin Hunter. 


“The team motto is ‘Be all in and go all out,’” said Latham. “That’s the definition of what we’re trying to do along with being high-character student-athletes on and off the court.”


Lady Panthers looking to get on the right track


CHHS Girls Basketball TeamEntering 2021-2022, the CHHS Lady Panthers are looking to find their new identity under first-year head coach Lauren Revesz. 


“We’re very excited to get going with this season,” said Revesz. “We’re rebuilding this year after a COVID year.”


The Lady Panthers were unable to find their footing last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year the team is looking to make improvements that lay the groundwork for future seasons while also competing for a state playoff spot now.


To do this, the group will rely on three returning guards from last year’s team. Senior Nadia Barbary, junior Maleah Rice and sophomore Cheridan Sanders each bring a unique skill set that Revesz says the team will need to find success. 


“We’ve got lots of numbers in the program, so we’re really just ready to get out there and take on these teams,” Revesz said.


Cougars Looking to Build on Last Season’s Successes

AHS Boys Basketball Team

After a slow start in 2020-2021, the Alexander High School (AHS) Cougars men’s basketball team is looking to make another run at a Region 5-6A title following last year’s second-place finish. 


“We had a slow start last season, but then we won nine out of our last 10 regular-season games and got the No. 2 seed in the region tournament,” said Cougars head coach Jason Slate. 


This season, the Cougars return many players from last season, and they are off to a 3-0 start in 2021-2022. Three senior guards, Kyle Singer, Kendell Cooper and Kelby Quarles are big reasons for the team’s hot start, and Slate says he’ll count on them to help the team reach its goals. 


With a seasoned roster, the Cougars are first looking to win a county championship, and then will be aiming to win a Region title before competing for a state championship in the playoffs. 


“We return a lot of guys,” Slate said, “and we feel like we have an opportunity to have a good season.”


Lady Cougars’ Gaining Experience


AHS Girls Basketball Team

The Lady Cougars also come off a state playoff appearance from last season, but this season they’ll have a much younger team than in past years as they seek to replicate this success. 


“As far as expectations for this year, we’re going to be very young,” said Lady Cougars head coach Dallas Smith. “We only have three upperclassmen that are going to be playing, because unfortunately, we had one that got hurt.”


Despite being young, Smith won’t be setting her goals any lower for the team. 


“Our biggest goal at Alexander is to make sure that we create great people,” Smith said. “We want to  get them prepared for their next level of life, whatever that looks like.”


On the court, AHS will be a part of a competitive Region 5-6A, and Smith said she’ll be counting on senior Haley Helton and juniors Tatiana Tanksley and Katlin Gould to play key roles and lead the team. Sophomore Meghan Ritchie will also play a big role in the team’s success. 


“We have a great group of girls, and they work super hard,” said Smith. “They truly love each other, and we’re really excited to compete this year, and we’re ready for a great season.”

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