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Salem basketball team completes successful summer

CONYERS — The Salem boys basketball team will have to replace its top three players when the 2013-14 season begins later this year. With a successful summer behind them, the Seminoles seem to have gotten that process off on the right foot.

Salem played 26 games against tough competition, including many teams it will see this winter during the high school season. The Seminoles participated in a summer league at Henry County High School and played in camps at both Apalachee High School and Monroe Area High School. Second-year head coach Noah Harrell was pleased with the progress his team made and is hopeful that eight returning starters will be able to offset the losses of the trio of Dedrick Turner, last year’s leading scorer who signed with Gulf Coast State College, Jamaal Garror and Roane State Community College signee Marques McKoy.

“Replacing guys like Turner, Garror, and McKoy we knew would be tough, but we saw that we have some rising stars (and) we had a very productive summer,” said Harrell. “We feel that the guys were ready to take this team as their own since it had been those older guys carrying the torch the past three seasons. All summer long we competed at a high level and showed that we have a lot of good pieces in the making.”

Salem will try to extend a run of three consecutive state tournament appearances, a program record, when the regular season begins in November. Players like rising seniors Demyon Greenwood, Jousel Lumpkin and Robert Baker and rising junior Austin Samuel should form a solid core as they try to send the Seminoles to the state playoffs for a fourth consecutive year and fourth time in school history.

“It was a very promising summer in seeing new guys step up and being scorers that they did not have to be last year,” Harrell said. “I’m very excited after this summer and seeing what we have to work with going into next season.”