Hoops Preview: Habersham Central Raiders

The Raiders are coming off their best season in school history, at least over the last decade-plus. Habersham was state-ranked, took down other state-ranked opponents, featured a pair of 1,000-point scorers, and made the playoffs for the first time since the early 2000s. That momentum carries over, as coach Tommy Yancey takes over the reigns of the program.

HEAD COACH: Tommy Yancey (1st Season)
2021-22 RECORD: 15-14, Region 8-AAAAAA 4th Place, State Rnd 1, #9 State Ranking
RETURNING STARTERS: 2. Bryce Pittman, Brannon Gaines
KEY DEPARTURES: Malachi Dooley (1K pts), Osmar Garcia (transferred out), Landon Suarez (transfer out), Mekhi Mawdesley (1K pts). That’s having to replace north of 50 points and close to 20 rebounds per game.
KEY PLAYERS: SR Bryce Pittman (12.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG), JR Brannon Gaines (4.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.5 APG), SR Cole Gray (3.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG) Those who will see an increased role include: SO Justus Gober, SO JoJo McCurry, JR Brighton Paul (JV MVP last year), JR Jayden Arria, FR Judge Wilbanks, SO Jalen Davis, SO Enzo Combs
OFFENSE: This is likely to be centered around Pittman, who is as athletically gifted as anyone in the region. Gaines will be the key cog to making the offense work.
STRENGTHS: Quickness
BIGGEST CHALLENGES: New system, rebounding

Point blank, the Raiders have to replace an enormous amount of talent with both Malachi Dooley and Mekhi Mawdesley both off to the college ranks after both eclipsing 1,000 points. Then you have the transfers out of Osmar Garcia, a true next-level talent, and Landon Suarez. Essentially Habersham loses 3-4 starters right there. The team will lean heavily on the experience of Brannon Gaines and Bryce Pittman, and Cole Gary will look to take a huge leap as a big-time contributor. Others will have to step up early and often.

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