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Seminoles look for third straight playoff appearance

CONYERS — Three years ago, the Salem boys basketball team accomplished something it never had: reach the state playoffs after a region runner-up finish. A year ago, the Seminoles did it again, qualifying for the state tournament for a second consecutive year. In 2012-13, the Conyers school will try to make it a three-peat.

Salem, which with the GHSA realignment will move up to Region 8-AAAAA, comes into the year one of the league favorites, and the main reason is in the backcourt. The Seminoles return one of the top players in the state in senior Dedrick Turner. The combo guard, who is undecided on a college for next fall, played in the GACA North-South Classic All Star Game in Savannah a year ago and this season should be on a short list of the top players in Class AAAAA.

Turner, along with big man Marques McKoy, who also hasn’t committed to a college, lead a senior-heavy group who will be suiting up for a new coach. Former assistant to new Salem athletic director and former head coach Darren Wilkins, Noah Harrell, will begin his first season as the head man.

“I am very excited to get the opportunity to take over a team that has had such success in the past two seasons,” said Harrell. “I am also excited because I have coached a lot of the guys on the sub-varsity level so I know their strengths and weaknesses. We have a lot of talent in our program and I look forward to seeing the talent succeed on and off the court.”

Turner and McKoy should have plenty of support as Harrell brings back potential high scorer Jamaal Garror, guards Ahmad Mitchell and Damion Gordon, and post player Terry Salter.

“The nice thing about our program is that we have a good bit of talent around,” Harrell said.

Salem opens its season at home Friday against Meadowcreek.