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Lumpkin County returns virtually everyone from Class AAA championship squad

Junior star Averie Jones and a strong supporting cast will look to follow-up a 30-1 state championship season

Lumpkin County Girls Basketball

Head Coach: David Dowse

Region: Region 7-AAA

Last Season: 30-1, won Class AAA State Championship

Standout Players: G Averie Jones (Jr.), G Lexi Pierce (Sr.), F/G Mary Mullinax (Sr.), F Kate Jackson (Sr.), G Ciera Brooks, (Jr.)

DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA – The best gold that you can find in Dahlonega these days comes from the Lumpkin County girls basketball program.

After falling just short of playing for a Class AAA state title two seasons ago, the Indians broke through with the program’s first state championship last season in dominant fashion, going 30-1 with a group comprised of mostly juniors.

With virtually their entire team back that includes star junior point guard Averie Jones and seniors Lexi Pierce, Mary Mullinax and Kate Jackson, the Indians have their sights set on another state championship this season.

(From left) Kate Jackson, Lexi Pierce, Averie Jones and Mary Mullinax all return for Lumpkin County, after going 30-1 last year and leading the team to the Georgia Class AAA state championship.

(From left) Kate Jackson, Lexi Pierce, Averie Jones and Mary Mullinax all return for Lumpkin County, after going 30-1 last year and leading the team to the Georgia Class AAA state championship.

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“It’s really exciting,” Indians head coach David Dowse said. “It all goes by so quickly. I look at these seniors and it seems like I was working with them as seventh and eighth graders not long ago. So it’s kind of bittersweet because you know it’s the last run with them. But it’s exciting.”

As good as the Indians are heading into the season, their road to a state championship will be much more difficult. All five teams in Region 7-AAA are currently ranked inside the Top 10 in Class AAA and the Indians will also potentially have to get past Hebron Christian Academy, who comes up from Class A and is ranked No. 1 in the classification. Lumpkin County is ranked No. 2.

“AAA will be tougher,” Dowse said. “Our region is tougher and the road to the championship will be significantly tougher this year. Hebron is now in AAA and they’re loaded with a whole new roster. Wesleyan and Pickens join our region. Right now in the state, five of the Top 10 in the state are in our region.”

But with the Indians having such an experienced group of players, that isn’t a challenge they are backing down from.

“We’re a mature group, so we’ve tried to put together a challenging schedule,” Dowse said. “But we also understand that regardless of who is in front of us, it’s about us getting better with each opportunity so that we’re at our best when it matters most.

“They’re such a player-led team and they are so experienced. They’re not on auto-pilot, but they’re about as close as a group of teenagers can be. I give them a little direction and they run with it. They’re pretty special.”

The Indians will once again be led by Jones, who has already eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for her career in two seasons. Pierce, Mullinax and Jackson will all return to the starting five alongside Jones and they will also add junior Ciera Brooks to the fold.

Much like last season, the starting five will get the bulk of the minutes for the Indians. The Indians made little to no substitutions last season, a testament to both their conditioning, and their mental fortitude to stay out of foul trouble.

The Indians are already off to a 4-0 start this season and will get their first big text a week from Tuesday when they travel to face Wesleyan, who is currently ranked No. 3 in Class AAA.