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Riverdale basketball looking for redemption

Riverdale will count on senior Quincy January to help with the scoring and rebounding. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

Riverdale will count on senior Quincy January to help with the scoring and rebounding. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

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Coach Tony Brinson said this season’s team is more comfortable with his system. Last season was Brinson’s first as the school’s boy’s coach. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)

RIVERDALE — In Tony Brinson’s first season with the boys basketball team, Riverdale came within two points of clinching a state tournament berth.

A loss to Dutchtown in the Region 4-AAAA Tournament cost the Raiders a shot at making state.

But with a year’s experience under its belt with Brinson, the Raiders are confident that they will still be among the top teams in the region this season.

“We are getting there each day in practice,” said Brinson, who coached the school’s girls’ team before taking over the program last season. “These guys have had a year to work with me and learn me and my system. They know how I want things done.”

The Raiders have several players back from last season, including leading scorer Quincy Jaunary, a member of the Clayton News Daily All-County team. Last season, Riverdale was 14-12 overall and 10-5 in the region.

Riverdale opens the regular season next Tuesday with a home game against defending Class AAAA champion Eagle’s Landing, which lost its first game by 35 to defending Class AA champion Greater Atlanta Christian over the weekend.

Because the football team didn’t make the postseason, Brinson was able to get some of those players out a week earlier than last year. Several players - including wide receivers Rashad Canty and Trey Sanders - will be looked upon to help the team this season.

“I think some of those football players are going to play a big role for us this year,” Brinson said. “They know the system, and they are very athletic.”

January will be counted on to provide both inside and perimeter scoring for the team. He is also one of the top rebounders for the Raiders.

“Honestly, we got a team that could win the region,” said Canty, a 6-foot-5 senior, who is one of the top receiving prospects in the state. “Last year, we beat some good teams, and came close to beating some others. After losing last year in the region tournament, I think we got something to prove.”

Brinson agreed.

“They are a hungry and determined bunch,” he said. “They still have that bad taste in their mouths from losing in the region tournament. We had a good season, but saw it go down the drain with that loss in the region tournament. It really hurts to lose it in the tournament.”

Sanders says the chemistry is much better this season.

“It is starting to click with us,” Sanders said. “We got a better mindset this season, and we know we have to finish each game strong. We have become comfortable with each other and the system that we are running.”