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Basketball preview: Grayson Rams

Staff Photo: John Bohn Grayson's Sadie Caudell shoots during a practice session.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Grayson's Sadie Caudell shoots during a practice session.

GRAYSON RAMS

Boys

Region: 8-AAAAA

Coach: Brian Anderson

2010-11 record: 5-19

Returning regulars:

Sean Lester, Sr., 5-10

Robert Nkemdiche, Jr., 6-5

Derick Pope, Sr., 6-4

Other to watch:

Callen Hightower, Sr., 5-10

Outlook: Grayson took a step back last season after going 12-13 the previous year. That team had just two seniors, but Kenny Lockett and Calvin Espeut won't be easy to replace. Lockett led the team with 12.1 points per game and Espeut was second at 9.4. Sean Lester was third in scoring a year ago, averaging 8.4 points, and is back along with fellow regulars Derick Pope and Robert Nkemdiche. The Rams also return Callen Hightower, second on the team last season with 2.1 assists per game.

Worth noting: Football standout Nkemdiche, one of the top junior prospects in the nation, gives the Rams a presence inside although basketball is his secondary sport. A year ago Grayson was hurt when Ciavy Wiles didn't play basketball after having a breakout senior season as a wide receiver for the Rams. He had averaged 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds as a junior.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

1 Callen Hightower 5-10 Sr.

2 Sean Lester 5-10 Sr.

3 Ryan Carter 5-10 Sr.

5 Kyle Dodds 6-4 Jr.

10 Marquise Lanier 6-1 Soph.

11 Joe Howard 6-3 Jr.

12 Kenny Scott 6-0 Sr.

20 Ryan Lisenba 6-0 Sr.

21 Aaron Burton 6-2 Jr.

24 Derick Pope 6-4 Sr.

31 Ahmed Ali 6-5 Sr.

32 Robert Nkemdiche 6-5 Jr.

34 Adrian Bellamy 6-0 Jr.

45 Phinehas Starks 6-5 Sr.

Girls

Region: 8-AAAAA

Coach: Cynthia Cooper

2010-11 record: 3-22

Returning regulars:

Tiara James, Jr., 6-0

Natasia Clark, Jr., 5-5

Sadie Caudell, Sr., 5-6

Lyndsay Parris, Jr., 5-5

Others to watch:

Sopuluchi Okoye, Fr., 5-7

Sydnie Hixon, Jr., 5-4

Outlook: The Rams hope to bounce back from a disappointing season with four players who saw regular duty a year ago returning and two promising newcomers joining the team. Missing, though, is Anna LaCavera, who led the team with 11.2 points per game and was an honorable mention all-region choice as a junior. She is not playing as a senior. Of the returnees, Courtney Lee averaged 4.2 rebounds and Natasia Clark contributed 1.6 assists. Joining the team are freshman Sopuluchi Okoye and junior Sydnie Hixon, who will take over at point guard. Hixon had to play on the JV team a year ago as a transfer.

Worth noting: Grayson was 14-15 in coach Cynthia Cooper's first year, but struggled last season with almost no experience returning. The only senior last year was Shakeyla Carrington, who was second in scoring at 9.2 per game. The Rams are still young this season, but do have three seniors.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

3 Kimberly Revell 5-6 Jr.

4 Nicki Farley 5-6 Sr.

10 Sydnie Hixson 5-4 Jr.

11 Maddie Minor 5-9 Jr.

12 Natasia Clark 5-5 Jr.

13 Sadie Caudell 5-6 Sr.

14 Sopuluchi Okoye 5-7 Fr.

20 Lyndsay Parris 5-5 Jr.

21 Miranda Clark 5-7 Soph.

22 Kyla Collins 5-5 Jr.

23 Ore Afon 5-9 Soph.

25 Portia Julian 5-5 Sr.

34 Tiara James 6-0 Jr.

Schedule

Nov. 19 at Loganville

Nov. 29 Mountain View

Dec. 3 DaculaDec. 6 Brookwood

Dec. 9 at Parkview

Dec. 10 at Butler

Dec. 12 at Shiloh

Dec. 16 Loganville

Dec. 19-21 at Augusta tourney (boys); at Jared Cook Classic (girls)

Jan. 3 at S. Gwinnett

Jan. 6 C. Gwinnett

Jan. 7 at Berkmar

Jan. 10 Archer

Jan. 14 Butler

Jan. 17 at Dacula

Jan. 20 at Brookwood

Jan. 21 Langston Hughes

Jan. 24 Parkview

Jan. 31 S. Gwinnett

Feb. 2 Shiloh

Feb. 3 at C. Gwinnett

Feb. 7 Berkmar

Feb. 10 at Archer