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N. Clayton, Eagle’s Landing clash in AAAA showdown

Photo by Derrick Mahone
North Clayton coach Martise Troup says this season's team might be the quickest team he has coach during his tenure at the school.

Photo by Derrick Mahone North Clayton coach Martise Troup says this season's team might be the quickest team he has coach during his tenure at the school.

On the first day of preseason practice, North Clayton coach Martise Troup reminded his team of one thing.

“I told them that Marcus Hunt is no longer on the team,” Troup recalled on Thursday afternoon.

While he acknowledged that Hunt wasn’t the only reason the team won its first region championship in 18 years and reached the Class AAAA semifinals, the now Georgia Tech freshman was a big reason.

This season’s team is playing with a chip on its shoulder as they attempt to prove last season wasn’t just about one player.

“I think we are more of a team now,” Eagles forward Devin “Tank” Lewis said. “We had some missing pieces last season.”

The Eagles are 1-1 heading into tonight’s showdown with Eagle’s Landing, which reached the Class AAA semifinals the last two seasons. With an array of Div. I talent returning, including Middle Tennessee signee Eric Wortham and South Carolina signee Desmond Ringer, the Golden Eagles are considered a favorite for the Class AAAA title.

“There is some pressure,” said Wortham, who averaged 14.8 points last season. “We don’t pay attention to what other people are saying about us. We are just focused on our team.”

Eagle’s Landing opened the season Tuesday with a seven-point win at Riverdale.

Following tonight’s contest against North Clayton, the Golden Eagles host Buford on Saturday.

“We are looking forward to these two games,” Wortham said. “We know everybody is going to come with their best game against us. It will tell us a lot about ourselves when we get into a dogfight. We will get to see if we are going to be a fighter or whine.”