Boys' Basketball - McEachern
The McEachern boys' basketball team already had several
components in place for a run at a state championship this season.
But with the acquisition of a pair of senior studs, the
Indians' hopes have been considerably bolstered. Former
Whitfield Academy stars Colin and Charlie Reddick transferred
to McEachern, providing first-year head coach Mike Thompson
with a solid interior presence as well as another weapon on the
perimeter. "Colin is a great defender and will play forward and
center, and Charlie is an athletic 6-foot-6 wing player,"
Thompson says. The duo will join sensational junior guard Trae
Golden, who led the team in scoring at 21.5 points a game last
year. "He has a strong body and is just a scorer,"Thompson says.
"He would certainly be in the top three or four that we have
had here, and we had (Atlanta Hawks forward) Josh Smith and
(Utah Jazz swingman) Morris Almond. I think he will own all
the records here." Seniors Kadeem Batts and Alioune Diouf
form a talented inside-outside combo. Thompson notes that
Diouf is an unknown entity in the league and may surprise
defenses with his athleticism. Last year, the Indians finished
24-6 and placed fifth in Region 5-AAAAA after being ousted by
Wheeler. McEachern's success will hinge on its ability to adapt
to the new additions to the roster. "We have a couple new parts
that are very big to us," Thompson says. "There's only one ball.
The guys will have to get along."
Girls' Swimming - Walton
With the quartet of All-State swimmers that includes senior Amanda Norman and juniors Mary Rose Palermo, Erin Reisinger
and Adrienne Pilchard heading back to the water, Walton is primed to improve on last year's third-place finish at state. The foursome
composes the Raiders' 200 medley relay team, which last season recorded the seventh-best time (1:48.40) in state history.
Reisinger returns after posting the state's best time in the 100 backstroke (54.77) in 2007-08.
Wrestling - Jefferson
A sibling rivalry is brewing on the mat at Jefferson, and head coach Doug Thurmond and the Dragons are reaping the
benefits. Sophomore Cason Thurmond and older brother Cam, a senior, pushed each other's competitiveness in helping Jefferson
win the Class A state title last winter. The win was the Dragons eighth in a row, setting a new state record. Both brothers
won state titles for Jefferson, which captured six individual crowns to go along with five second-place finishes.
Girls' Basketball - Greater Atlanta Christian
The Spartans run at back-to-back titles came to a screeching halt in the second round of the Class AA tourney last
year, marking the earliest exit for the team since 2003. GAC hopes to rebound this season behind All-State junior guard
Chaney Means. Last season, she averaged 13.1 points a contest and shot 44 percent from the field. The Spartans will also
have to find players to replace junior Briana Jordan and senior Anjelica Wilcox, both of whom transferred to Norcross.
BREAK OUT TEAMS
GIRLS' AIR RIFLE – EAST COWETA
The Indians placed fourth overall last year behind senior April Dunn.
WRESTLING – NORTH GWINNETT
Juniors Thomas McConnell, David Singletary and Greg Epps power the Bulldogs on the mat.
GIRLS' BASKETBALL – WESTLAKE
Senior post Tamika Willis will look to advance Westlake past last year's semifinal finish.
BOYS' BASKETBALL – CALHOUN
Forward Tyler Arnold averaged 21.1 points and 8.5 rebounds a game last year as a junior.