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Basketball preview: North Gwinnett Bulldogs

North's A.J. Clements

North's A.J. Clements

NORTH GWINNETT BULLDOGS

BOYS

Region: 7-AAAAA

Coach: Zach Smith

2010-11 record: 18-10

Returning regulars:

A.J. Clements, Sr., 6-3

Kwesi Abakah, Sr., 6-8

Others to watch:

Chris Bolden, Sr., 6-2

Mac Howard, Sr., 6-5

Ashton Kelly, Sr., 6-4

Alex Boyd, Jr., 5-11

Outlook: The Bulldogs return two starters from last season's state tournament team and add Georgia Tech recruit Chris Bolden, who transferred from state champion Norcross. Bolden, a first-team all-county pick by the Gwinnett Daily Post last season, averaged 15 points and hit the decisive free throws for the Blue Devils in the title game against defending champ Milton. Bolden joins returning North starters A.J. Clements and Kwesi Abakah. Clements was second on the team in scoring a year ago at 11.6 per game, while Abakah averaged 8.2 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Worth noting: North seemed to wear down last season in Zach Smith's first year as coach, winning just three of its final nine games. The Bulldogs dropped to the No. 4 seed with losses to Peachtree Ridge and Mill Creek in the region tournament, then lost to Wheeler in first round of state tournament.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

2 Kamaran Calhoun 6-3 Fr.

3 Justin Techo 5-9 Sr.

5 Jordan Harper 6-1 Jr.

10 Ashton Kelly 6-4 Sr.

11 Mat Debcynzski 6-2 Jr.

12 Kwesi Abakah 6-8 Sr.

14 Tobias Howard 5-10 Fr.

21 Jordan Brown 6-6 Jr.

22 A.J. Clements 6-3 Sr.

25 Chris Bolden 6-2 Sr.

30 Danny Crawford 6-3 Sr.

32 Daquin Davis 6-3 Jr.

33 Alex Boyd 5-11 Jr.

42 Ryan Copeland 6-2 Sr.

44 Mac Howard 6-5 Sr.

GIRLS

Region: 7-AAAAA

Coach: Bryan Sellers

2010-11 record: 22-7

Returning regulars:

Lexie Brown, Jr., 5-10

Peyton Whitted, Jr., 6-3

Ariel Johnson, Sr., 5-5

Others to watch:

Alexis Munlyn, Sr., 6-0

Keniesha Wilborn, Jr., 5-8

Jordan Hyatt, Sr., 5-11

Outlook: Lexie Brown, who has committed to Maryland, helped lead the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 last season as a sophomore after moving up from Orlando and is one of three regulars returning for a team that could challenge region rival Norcross for the state title. The daughter of former NBA player Dee Brown averaged 18.6 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 steals and 4.7 rebounds last season. The other returning regulars are 6-foot-3 junior Peyton Whitted and senior Ariel Johnson. Last season Johnson averaged 12 points and 2.1 assists, while Whitted contributed 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Worth noting: The Bulldogs defeated Norcross twice while going unbeaten during the regular season in the region. But North fell to the eventual two-time state champion Blue Devils in the championship game of the region tournament, snapping a 16-game winning streak. North then defeated Woodstock before losing to Roswell in the state tournament in Bryan Sellers' first season as coach.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

4 Lexie Brown 5-10 Jr.

5 Bailey Rexing 5-2 Soph.

10 Ariel Johnson 5-5 Sr.

11 Jordan Goldring 6-1 Soph.

12 Alyssa Munlyn 6-1 Fr.

14 Oma Nkele 5-6 Jr.

15 Cassidy Packer 5-6 Sr.

20 Alexis Munlyn 6-0 Sr.

21 Gretja Otten 5-11 Jr.

22 Austin McCausland 5-10 Jr.

24 Keniesha Wilborn 5-8 Jr.

25 Peyton Whitted 6-3 Jr.

30 Jordan Hyatt 5-11 Sr.

SCHEDULE

Nov. 19 GAC (boys)

Nov. 22 Hillgrove (boys)

Nov. 29 S. Gwinnett

Dec. 3 Buford at KSU (boys); at St. Pius (girls)

Dec. 6 Peachtree Ridge

Dec. 9 Duluth

Dec. 20-22 Jared Cook Classic

Dec. 27-29 McDonald's Invitational in Tifton (boys); Peach State tourney at Holy Innocents' (girls)

Jan. 3 at Collins Hill

Jan. 6 Mountain View

Jan. 10 at Mill Creek

Jan. 13 Meadowcreek

Jan. 14 at McEachern (boys); East Hall at Wesleyan (girls)

Jan. 17 at Norcross

Jan. 20 Peachtree Ridge

Jan. 21 Girls Night Out at Starr's Mill (girls)

Jan. 24 at Duluth

Jan. 27 Collins Hill

Jan. 31 at Mountain View

Feb. 3 Mill Creek

Feb. 7 at Meadowcreek

Feb. 10 Norcross