Hoops hopes: The storylines surrounding local high school boys … – Daily Citizen


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Foggy. Low 49F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: January 17, 2023 @ 11:15 pm
Christian Heritage School’s Jax Abernathy drives toward the goal against Mount Vernon in the Class A Private playoffs.
Southeast Whitfield High School’s Cal Rich rises for a short shot against Cedartown in the Region 7-4A tournament.

Christian Heritage School’s Jax Abernathy drives toward the goal against Mount Vernon in the Class A Private playoffs.
Southeast Whitfield High School’s Cal Rich rises for a short shot against Cedartown in the Region 7-4A tournament.
Jax is back for Christian Heritage
The 2022-23 Christian Heritage School Lions can perhaps be summed up in a few words: Jax is back.
Guard Jax Abernathy, last year’s Dalton Daily Citizen All-Area Player of the Year, returns for his junior season to lead the Lions.
Abernathy helped lead Christian Heritage to the Final Four as a fantastic freshman and shined last year as a stellar sophomore. Abernathy, who averaged 24.8 points per game last season, will lead the Lions along with junior forward Cash Hare. Christian Heritage did lose all-region point guard Zundra Jackson to transfer.
New-look squad will take the court at Coahulla Creek
When the Coahulla Creek Colts begin play, they’ll be without a trio of all-region performers from a season ago. Will Locke, a Region 6-3A first team forward, is gone due to graduation, as are second-teamers Mario Edwards and Lucas Mulkey.
The Colts will have to find ways to replace the production of that trio, who combined averaged 36 points per game.
Dalton primed for improvement after down year
With a lot of roster turnover last year, the Dalton Catamounts went from a playoff appearance two seasons ago to a 1-24 finish last season. The good news for the Cats is Dalton returns a lot of those now-experienced players for 2022-23.
Forward Chaz Ramsey is back to lead Dalton as it steps down into Class 5A after he earned a Region 5-6A honorable mention nod a year ago as a junior. Guard Drew Snyder should also contribute for the Catamounts after coming on strong late in his freshman season last year.
The Dalton Academy hopes to overcome slim roster to build program
In the first year of the basketball program at The Dalton Academy last season, the Pumas finished with a handful of close losses but without a win. To make strides in year two, Dalton Academy will have to overcome a small roster.
Just eight players are on the team for the Class A Division I program. The Pumas do return Malik Holland, a junior forward and one of the few Pumas with a lot of playing experience.
Murray County hopes to improve on last year’s up-and-down season
Murray County had an uneven season a year ago, ending with a 13-13 record after going on a seven-game win streak at one point. The Indians will look for more consistency as they enter Class 2A this year.
Back to lead the Indians is Tad Stone, the big guard who was a Region 6-3A first team selection a season ago. He’ll have to step up to overcome the loss of his running mate, Carson Weaver, who led Murray with 14.8 points per game.
North Murray still looking to return to playoff form
After back-to-back seasons of 21 or more wins in 2018-19 and 2019-20, North Murray hasn’t kept that same region championship-winning form in the last two seasons.
The Mountaineers slipped to 12-15 two seasons ago and fell to 7-19 a season ago, missing the postseason.
North Murray returns Region 6-3A second-teamer Seth Griffin and guard Judson Petty on a team that will look to climb back into contention as it enters Class 2A.
Northwest lost a lot from last year’s standout squad
The Northwest Whitfield Bruins utilized a senior-laden roster to turn in a stellar season last school year, wrapping up the regular season with a 21-3 record before falling in the region tournament and out of the first round of the playoffs.
To achieve such success this year the Bruins will have to replace a lot of production.
Payton Baker, the Region 7-4A first-team forward who averaged 19 points and nine rebounds last season as a senior, has departed. Sharpshooter Will Anderson, starting point guard Chandler Jackson and energetic forward Collin Hall all graduated, too. Those four accounted for 53 points per game on average.
Rich hopes to make Southeast richer in 2022-23
Just two seasons removed from a winless season, Southeast Whitfield made a surprise state playoff appearance last season.
Cal Rich led the Raiders with 21.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game last season, and the preseason all-state forward is back to try to lead the Raiders even further in his senior year.
Rich will be without his front-court partner of last season, Victor Arrellin, and former starting point guard Job Willis due to graduation.

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