Basketball is just around the corner for head coach Thad Burgess's boys team at Dawson County High School.
The Tigers are trying to follow arguably the best team in Dawson County history this season with most of the starters returning.
Last year the Tigers finished with a 25-7 record and an appearance in the Class AA Elite Eight game against Jordan.
Dawson lost that thrilling game, 48-47, in front of a huge Tiger crowd in Dalton.
"This will be a very challenging year with the move up to a basketball region that could very easily have four top 10 preseason teams in it," Burgess said.
The Tigers will compete in Region 7-AAA with the likes of Buford, East Hall and North Hall. Other teams in the region include, Fannin County, West Hall, White County and Banks County.
"Buford had three transfers to move in to fill their losses, and have two committed players returning that have signed Division-I scholarships to Tennessee and Ole Miss. North Hall will return at least 10 players from their top 10 team in [Class] AAA, and East Hall will be loaded again," Burgess said.
West Hall High School may have the best inside player in 6'8" Hunter Atkinson.
White County High School Coach Sam Borg's team also returns most of its key players this season.
Former Region 8-AA rivals Banks County and Fannin County will move up with the Tigers and will continue the schools' rivalries.
There is no doubt about it, the Tigers are also returning a wealth of talent.
Back for his senior season will be leading scorer Tyler Dominy.
Joining Dominy will be veteran players Jonathan Sanderson, Will Anglin, Lucas Pain, Mitchell Putnam, Gunnar Armstrong, Cameron Millholland, Jackson Putnam and Camron Chester.
"We were able to make that magical run last year where everything fell into place for us from the region tournament, to the last second shot that kept us from the Final Four." Burgess said. "We will not sneak up on anyone and we have to have many things go right for us with our depth. The group that is back are very high character and are very close [to each other]."
Following tryouts this week, Burgess said he would like to find some depth for his team.
"If football makes the playoffs this year, we will get out of the gates a little slower, but this will allow me to give some players a chance to have a lot of extra work," he said.
Burgess has indicated that the team will play a scrimmage game against Rabun County on Nov. 13, but will not begin the regular season until football is finished.
"I just hope we can find that same chemistry that was developed last season. I feel a strong bond with this group and it is a special bunch of students on and off the floor. Anticipation of getting back to work and playing is at an all-time high. Our student body and community meant so much last year and seem very excited to get this team back again," he added.