Photo by Derrick Mahone
Last season, rising senior Kimberly Dawkins averaged 10.1 points and 14.2 rebounds to help lead Jonesboro to the Class AAAA semifinals.
After June, a month heavy with summer leagues and weekend camps at colleges, the high school basketball offseason slows down. Here is a look at five boys teams that should be worth following this upcoming season.
Dutchtown: It doesn’t start and end with Dominique Clune for the Lady Bulldogs, but it’s pretty close. The rising senior shooting guard/small forward is arguably Henry County’s top player, but she has plenty of help returning — Kivanna Kudratt, Tori Nelson, Tanacity Blue and Kayla Prichett, just to name a few. It’s been two years since Dutchtown’s last state tournament appearance. That should end this season.
Forest Park: Surprised? Maybe, considering the Lady Panthers lose Ashlee Cole and four other seniors, plus key back-up Raven Wynn, who transferred to Jonesboro. But Forest Park should remain competitive with the return of rising juniors Kayla Potts and Tiffany Wilson from injury, and the continued development of rising sophomores Breasia McElrath and Kanisha Tharpe.
Jonesboro: The Lady Cardinals mirror their boys counterparts — coming off a semifinals appearance with virtually their entire roster intact. The only thing standing in their way of a return trip would be the turmoil of a sudden coaching change this summer. But rising seniors Briana Benson, Kimberly Dawkins, Ashley Hand and Victoria Florence make this one of the most talented teams in the state.
Mundy’s Mill: Gone is the school’s all-time leading scorer, Brianna McQueen. But the Lady Tigers have been through this before; they’ve graduated a dynamic scorer only to find another waiting in the wings. Rising senior point guard Moneshia Dyer could be the next one.
Woodland: Back-to-back state tournament appearances were a good step for the young Lady Wolfpack program. Rising seniors Nicole Findura, Morgan Jones and Lindsey Reed are hoping to stop the trend of one-and-done trips in the playoffs. Assistant coach Ashley Maddox was promoted to head coach after Thomas McLaurin resigned, which makes for a smooth transition.