Getting a jump on the rest of the county, Greenbrier and Harlem tip off the Georgia High School Association boys and girls basketball season Tuesday night at Greenbrier, beginning with the girls at 6 p.m.
At Harlem, Kim Chambers is a busy man. Already the boys coach, he was asked to take over the girls team when the head coaching position became vacant a week before school started.
The Lady Bulldogs, 3-23 in 2012, lost players to graduation and transfers, so it will be a learning process.
“Most of them are freshmen and sophomores,” Chambers said. “Being able to teach them the game of basketball at this level right here, it’s going to take some time. Every time I watch them play I’m more amazed by what they can do, not what they can’t do.”
For the boys, Chambers is looking for young players to develop and football players to add depth and size to a squad that was 9-17 a year ago. He isn’t sure what to expect, with some notable exceptions.
Running the point will be highly regarded Reggie Reid, a 2012 all-region and all-county performer who, as a freshman, averaged 19.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. He’ll be joined by Dylan Farmer, who averaged 11 points and was the team’s leading three-point shooter.
With Greenbrier in much the same situation, Chambers likes having the pair in top form.
“I think it gives us a little bit advantage with him (Reid) and Dylan,” Chambers said.
In 2012, Greenbrier was 9-17, lost nine of its last 10 and saw Thomas Brown (13.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg. graduate.
Though young, head coach Casey Heckathorn thinks this year’s team, led by senior Connor Sigrist and junior Kayshawn Marshall, will be the most athletic he’s had in four years.
“Connor knows what everybody needs to do; he does a good job of directing traffic,” Heckathorn said. “Kayshawn is more the motivator. He has a ton of energy, and it’s very contagious.”
Lady Wolfpack coach Stefanie Basinger knows exactly what she has and is excited about what her team can accomplish coming off a 6-20 season starting three freshman and two juniors.
“It’s a very experienced team, and we’re still young,” Basinger said. ”It’s a lot easier running plays. We’re not starting from scratch. We’re starting from our base that’s been built.”
The Lady Wolfpack will be led by sophomores Morgan Taylor (14.3 ppg, 14.1 rpg), Jennifer McMahan (10.5 ppg, 6 rpg., Mallory Myers (4.5 apg) and seniors KaRa Thompson (6 rpg) and Kayla Pinkard (10 rpg).
Augusta Prep gets under way Tuesday with both Cavaliers teams taking on Curtis Baptist at Westminster and then Alleuia at Westminster on Thursday. The girls lead off both days at 4 p.m., the boys at 5:30.
The Lady Cavaliers come off a 16-10 season and a first-round ousting at the Georgia Independent School Association Tournament.
The Murphy triplets (Amanda, Katie and Joanna) are team captains, and along with Lelia Woodhurst are four of last year’s starting five. With two freshmen expected to contribute, coach Myran Hunt likes the makeup of his squad and its outlook.
“I told them the season is what you make of it,” Hunt said. “We’ve been practicing for a week and a half and everybody’s looking good and going after it hard. Our goal is to win the region and see how far we can go in the state.”
Coach Mike Guthrie’s boys team (7-19) just started practice this week, so it will have to gear up quickly. The team’s leading scorer and rebounder, junior forward Michael Downing (10.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg), is returning along with senior point guard Ben Guthrie (3.2 apg), There also will be experience at the other starting positions.
Guthrie hopes that experience will pay off down the stretch when the teams gets into the GISA schedule.
“We’ll be competitive with the teams in our region,” Guthrie said. “I expect a lot of close games. Last year we lost several games right at the end of the game, so we have to play better at the end.”