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2019-20 BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Team-by-team capsules
Nick Zabetakis
West Forsyth senior Nick Zabetakis, center, splits a couple of Forsyth Central defenders during a game last season. File photo

How does Denmark expect to follow up its Elite Eight appearance? 

Sutton Smith
Denmark junior Sutton Smith drives toward the basket last season during the Danes' 58-50 loss to Woodward Academy in the Class 4A playoffs. File photo

Basketball: Denmark picks up key transfer, has high hopes for season


Head coach: Tyler Whitlock, second season

Last season: 24-7, 10-3 Region 7-4A

Key returners: Sutton Smith (Jr.), Adonnis Tolbert (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Robert Cowherd (So.)

Outlook: Denmark returns nearly all of its roster from last year's Elite Eight run, adding Robert Cowherd to the lineup, a 6-foot-5 sophomore transfer from Holy Spirit Prep. Junior Sutton Smith led the Danes in scoring last season, averaging 17.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. Denmark won't have its full roster until football season ends, as seniors Adonnis Tolbert and Ze'Vian Capers, as well as junior Aaron McLaughlin will be key pieces for the Danes.

Forsyth Central

Head coach: Brandon Hutchins, first season

Last season: 7-22, 2-8 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Anthony Roveto (Sr.), Brandon Sherer (Sr.), Jake Craft (Jr.), Dylan Carter (Jr.), Joakeim Celestin (Jr.)

Key newcomers: Will Suddarth (Sr.)

Outlook: Forsyth Central is entering its first year under Brandon Hutchins, who coached at Habersham Central last year and spent 15 years at Starr's Mill. The Bulldogs return nine seniors and three juniors and add 6-foot-7 center Will Suddarth, a transfer from Illinois. Hutchins said Central will rely heavily on its guard play, which includes senior Brandon Sherer, a second-team All-County selection a year ago after averaging 10.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and four assists per game.

Horizon Christian Academy

Head coach: Damon Taylor, fifth season

Last season: 10-8

Key returners: Malachi Mathis (Jr.), Camden Moore (Jr.), Mathew Bowles (Jr.), Ben Risinger (Sr.), Joe Risinger (Sr.), Luke Sell (Jr.), Tanner Story (So.)

Key newcomers: Owen Beckstrum (So.), Harrison Richard (Jr.), Liam Random (Fr.)

Outlook: Horizon Christian has an immediate hole to fill with 6-foot-5 center John Bachner out for the season with a knee injury. Warriors coach Damon Taylor said the team will look to offset its lack of size with an ability to shoot the ball. Taylor added that this season might be somewhat of a rebuilding year with Bachner's injury and several new starters transitioning in. 

Braxton Beaty
Lambert senior Braxton Beaty dribbles the ball last season during a game against Milton. File photo

Head coach: Scott Bracco, eighth season 

Last season: 21-7, 8-2 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Colin Granger (Sr.), Luke Champion (Sr.), Braxton Beaty (Sr.), Will Baker (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Jackson Greene (Jr.), Brandon Stoudamire (Jr.), Marc Mauge (Jr.), Paul Lunguana (Jr.), AJ McIlwain (Fr.)

Outlook: Lambert already has a couple of players set to play Division I basketball, with 6-foot-9 senior Colin Granger committed to Ohio University and 6-foot-6 senior Luke Champion committed to Samford. Granger was a first-team All-County selection last season after averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game. Also, 6-foot-2 senior Braxton Beaty has a scholarship offer from Navy. Lambert coach Scott Bracco said Beaty, who finished last season averaging 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals per game, will bring explosiveness and defensive tenacity to the Longhorns' backcourt. 

North Forsyth

Head coach: David Sokol, second season

Last season: 11-14, 1-9 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Corey Seitz (Sr.), Bennett Helms (Sr.), Justin Costello (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Cannon Jackson (Sr.), Aidan Kudlas (So.)

Outlook: A trio of seniors headlined by Corey Seitz will lead North Forsyth this season, but the Raiders' biggest issue will be developing its inexperienced bench, according to head coach David Sokol. Seitz averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per game last year on his way to a second-team All-County selection, but the Raiders lost 10 of their final 12 games.

Charlie Soukup
Pinecrest senior Charlie Soukup watches his shot drop last year during a game against Walker. File photo
Pinecrest Academy

Head coach: John Bauersfeld, second season

Last season: 16-13, 6-10 Region 6-1A

Key returners: Caleb Bohn (Sr.), Josh Boeye (Sr.)

Key newcomers: None

Outlook: Pinecrest returns its entire lineup from last year's Sweet Sixteen run and appears to be in great shape entering the season. Senior Caleb Bohn, a second-team All-County selection a season ago, averaged 13.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game and was a 40-percent shooter from behind the arc. The Paladins also return senior Josh Boeye and top rebounder Hank Lynch. Pinecrest coach John Bauersfeld highlighted JJ Hayes and Oscar Lynch as a pair of sophomores who could have breakout campaigns.

South Forsyth

Head coach: Scott Givens, fifth season

Last season: 11-15, 4-6 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Devin McGlockton (Jr.), Nate Hammond (Sr.), Thomas Stocks (Sr.), Ethan Underwood (So.), Kohl Harris (Jr.), Lowry Hicks (Jr.), Sebi Ramirez (Sr.), Grady Arant (Sr.), Michael Dotson (Jr.)

Key newcomers: Wes Kane, Gavin Morris (So.), McKay Rawlings

Outlook: South Forsyth was inexperienced last season, but the War Eagles have another year under their belt and appear to be on the upswing. Junior Devin McGlockton offers a physical presence in the post, where he averaged a double-double last season, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per contest. Other key pieces for South are senior Nate Hammond and sophomore Ethan Underwood.

West Forsyth

Head coach: Fredrick Hurt, fourth season

Last season: 13-16, 6-4 Region 5-7A

Key returners: Broc Bidwell, Nick Zabetakis, Jack Bock, Zack Zabetakis, Tyler Lane, Joseph Staiti

Key newcomers: Sterling Johnson (Sr.)

Outlook: West Forsyth coach Fredrick Hurt thinks this team could be one of the deepest in program history. The Wolverines return a couple of big wings in Sterling Johnson and Joseph Staiti — Johnson is a transfer who went to middle school in Forsyth County before attending a private school and Staiti missed all of last season with an injury. Junior Broc Bidwell was among the top scorers in the county last season, averaging 18.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Seniors Nick Zabetakis and Jack Bock will fill out the rest of the lineup for West.