Boys: Top 5 Seniors
Josh Council, Camden
Chandler Hash, Greer
DeAndre Hopkins, Daniel
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Malcolm Rhett, Lower Richland
Jordan Scott, Darlington
Girls: Top 5 Seniors
Camille Glymph, J.L. Mann
Anicia Dotson, Daniel
Kim Roach, A.C. Flora
Jasmine Harrison, Lower Richland
Kayla Jenerette, Travelers Rest
BOYS AT A GLANCE
The favorite: Greer
The Yellow Jackets have four starters, including the top three scorers, and 11 players back from last year's state runner-ups.
Chandler Hash and Chris Dean - who both averaged over 22 points per game - and Joseph Neely form the nucleus.
"This is the first time in 21 years that we have been ranked number one in the preseason but we have to remind the kids we haven't accomplished anything yet," coach Jeff Neely said. "We return most of our players but the challenge is still there. We want to be ranked here at the end of the year. Any team in the top 10 could have the top honor right now."
Five other contenders
BATTERY CREEK: The Dolphins lost in overtime to Camden in the Lower State final. They have Brent Evans returning among others.
DANIEL: Any team that has Deandre Hopkins in the lineup is dangerous. Most of their players are still playing football so they will be better in February than they are in December.
LAKE CITY: The Panthers lost five seniors from a 20-8 team but Corey Baker, Dashawn Butler and Shonquez Nelson return.
CAMDEN: The Bulldogs are the defending champs after going 24-2 a season ago. They return frontcourt players Josh Council and SaVonne Wingate.
J.L. MANN: The Patriots are led by Damien Leonard, the only underclassman named to the Elite 5 team. They lost to Greer in the upper state final last year.
- Chris Dearing
GIRLS AT A GLANCE
The Favorite: Lower Richland
The Diamond Hornets have to replace McDonald's All-American Morgan Stroman but until somebody beats them they are the favorite. They have four consecutive titles to their credit but this team will feature several sophomores and freshmen.
Senior guard Jasmine Harrison has been picked as a top five player in Class 3A and will be counted on to provide leadership. By late February,coach Debbie Stroman expects this team to be a factor.
"We're a lot different from last year obviously," Stroman said. "It's going to be a challenge but we don't look at it as trying to win five state championships in a row. We just want to win the next one."
Five Other Contenders
MYRTLE BEACH: Khadijah Sessions is only a sophomore but she was picked in the preseason poll as one of the state's Elite 5.
DARLINGTON: The Falcons made its first trip to the finals but lost to Lower Richland. They have junior guard Jazma Green back from a solid sophomore year.
RIVERSIDE: Senior Chelsey Johnson is a top point guard and the Warriors advanced to the upper state final.
J.L. MANN: Camille Glymph has signed with Auburn and is the best player in 3A. Shehas help in guard Britney Holliday.
DANIEL: Anicia Dotson averaged over 22 points per game and can be a force on inside or on the perimeter.
- Chris Dearing