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Grayson Girls Basketball Season Preview

COACH: Cynthia Cooper

2012-13 RECORD: 3-22

RETURNING REGULARS:

Lika Bah, 5-7, Sr.

Shakara Burton, 5-7, Jr.

Courtney Deckard, 5-6, Jr.

Michelle Akolade, 5-7, Jr.

Jessica Ewing, 5-10, Soph.

Imani Conner, 5-4, Soph.

OUTLOOK: Head coach Cynthia Cooper took over a struggling program for the 2009-10 season and took the Rams to the state tournament that season behind high-scoring guard Taren White. While Grayson hasn’t reached that level of success in recent seasons because of inexperience, it has high hopes for the upcoming one thanks to a strong core of returning players. Lika Bah is the team’s top senior, and she is backed up by a trio of juniors who contributed last season — Shakara Burton, Michelle Akolade and Courtney Deckard. Two young players, sophomores Jessica Ewing and Imani Conner, also are back after breaking into the varsity lineup as freshmen. Ewing was one of the best in Gwinnett and tops on Grayson last season with her 7 rebounds per game average.

WORTH NOTING: While its defense was solid, point production was a problem for Grayson last season. It topped the 60-point mark just once, a 67-60 overtime win over Shiloh, and broke the 50-point barrier just two other times. … A lack of height continues to plague the Rams, too. Other than Ewing (5-10), no other returning regular is taller than 5-7. … Cooper was Grayson’s fourth coach in six seasons when she was hired, so her current tenure has provided some stability. Prior to taking the head job, Cooper was a longtime assistant at Norcross and Shiloh.

FAST FACT: The Rams haven’t had a winning season since joining the state’s highest classification for the 2005-06 season. They did have success in Class AAA in the program’s early stages, reaching the state tournament in 2004 and 2005. Grayson’s only state-tournament win came in 2004.

2013-14 SCHEDULE

Nov. 16 Meadowcreek

Nov. 19 at Walnut Grove

Nov. 26 at Walnut Grove Tip-Off (boys)

Dec. 3 a t Dacula

Dec. 6 Archer

Dec. 7 North Oconee

Dec. 10 at South Gwinnett

Dec. 13 at Lanier

Dec. 14 Walnut Grove

Dec. 16 Shiloh

Dec. 21 Collins Hill at Loganville

Dec. 27-28 at Duluth Jingle Jam (boys)

Dec. 27-28 at West Forsyth Holiday Classic (girls)

Jan. 4 Lanier

Jan. 7 at Berkmar

Jan. 10 at Brookwood

Jan. 11 at Central Gwinnett

Jan. 14 Parkview

Jan. 17 Dacula

Jan. 21 at Archer

Jan. 24 South Gwinnett

Jan. 28 at Shiloh

Jan. 31 Berkmar

Feb. 1 Brookwood

Feb. 4 Central Gwinnett

Feb. 7 at Parkview