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Derrck Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Lithia Springs boys basketball (L-R) Terry Dew, coach J.W. Cantrell, Anthony Hardy and Terrence Ashford.

Coach: J.W. Cantrell

Last season record: 15-12 (lost in first round of Class AAAAA tournament)

Returning starters (2): F Terry Dew, Anthony Hardy

Others to watch: G Terrence Ashford, G Omarion Smith, F Marzavion Dix, G Karee Anderson, G Christian Horton.

Primary strengths: With nine seniors on the roster, experience shouldn’t be a problem. Hardy, a sophomore, has a year’s experience under his belt.

Potential problems: The Lions are not that big so size in the paint could hurt.

The Outlook: After watching his team give eventual state-champion Buford all it could handle in a state tournament first round loss, Cantrell is confident his team can be a region contender. The Lions return nine seniors, and two starters from last year’s team that reached the state playoffs. Replacing leading scorer and county player of the year Ceaunte Zachery will be the key. As a freshmen last season, Hardy averaged 8.9 points and 3.1 assists a game. Hardy’s role with the team will definitely increase with his experience. At 6-foot-5, Dew is the tallest player for the Lions, who will also look for Dix to be some muscle in the paint. The team is looking to challenge for its first region championship since the 2012 season.

Coach Cantrell says: “This is the most experienced group that I’ve had in a while. We are looking to get back to the state tournament. I don’t think that experience, and it shouldn’t be, a problem for us. After last season, I think everyone pretty much knows us. We should be one of the frontrunners for the region championship.”

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