The Dawson County varsity boys basketball team will return the majority of its strong roster that helped make an improbable run deep into the playoffs last season.
But its region opponents will do the same thing, as teams are stacked with experience and talent.
After the Tigers won their first Region Championship in 43 years last season and shocked No. 8 ranked Buford to advance to the State Elite 8, Dawson found itself on the move to a larger classification for the 2012-13 season.
Joining Dawson in the new Region 7-AAA will be three teams ranked in the pre-season State Top-10.
No. 4 Buford, No. 5 East Hall and No. 7 North Hall highlight a region that Tigers head coach Thad Burgess called the strongest in the state in AAA.
But the Tigers are ready.
Our guys expect to win, Burgess said. Thats hard to coach.
After the team had a very successful summer campaign which included dozens of games, Dawson is beginning this season with the goal of returning to the State playoffs.
Burgess expects the Tigers to continue giving opponents difficulty on offense with their mix of zone and man-to-man defense.
The scheme is complicated, but having experience on the roster helps Dawson execute its defensive plan.
Familiar faces on
In order to accomplish their goals, the Tigers will take the court with a roster filled with faces that DCHS basketball fans will recognize.
All-State Honorable Mention selection Tyler Dominy returns at the wing for his fourth-straight year as a starter. The 6-5 senior averaged 15 points and eight rebounds last season.
Senior wing player Will Anglin, a three-year starter, averaged nine points and three steals last year.
An 85 percent free-throw shooter, senior wing player Gunnar Armstrong returns after averaging eight points per game.
Leading the charge at point guard will be junior Jonathan Sanderson. Burgess said Sanderson really stepped up his game in Dawsons final 10 contests last year and is a major key for us by what he does with the ball.
Senior Camron Chester, at 6-4 is ready to put in valuable minutes at center, while junior wing player Jackson Putnam returned from football season with added strength.
Also in the mix will be 6-5 junior Lucas Pain, who Burgess believes is ready to help the Tigers on the wing.
In this weeks action, Dawson is set to host rival Lumpkin County on Saturday night starting at 7 p.m. with the varsity girls game. Both Dawson teams defeated the Indians and Lady Indians in both matchups last season.
On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Dawson travels to Blue Ridge to tangle with Fannin County. Last season, the girls split a pair of games versus the Rebels, while the boys won both. Varsity tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.