THOMASVILLE — The Brookwood Warriors basketball team was mere seconds away from advancing to the GISA Class AAA Final Four last year.
With a veteran team that returns three starters and six seniors, head coach Drew Giudice believes it has the necessary parts to make another successful run this season.
“The team is very motivated and I think what's really cool is to see them motivated at the state level,” Giudice said. “They've kind of switched their mindset to not just try to win the region but really get to that final four. Being 30 seconds away from the final four was heartbreaking to not finish it. But it gives you motivation when pretty much the entire group is back. You feel like you have a really good chance at that this year. It's a realistic goal.”
Brookwood does have to replace Kurtis Brown, last year's GISA Region 3 player of the year who averaged 13 points and eight rebounds per game.
The Warriors return three seniors — Sam Barrett, J.P. Chapman and Harrison Owens — all of whom have started since their sophomore seasons, Giudice's first year as head coach.
Part of the challenge so far this preseason is the lack of a full squad that Giudice has at his disposal. Several of his key contributors are on the football team and have missed the first couple of weeks of practice.
Quarterback Dallas Forsyth, linebacker Jacob Hilson and wide receiver Mac Brandon will all play significant roles when they return to the hardwood once the football regular season ends Friday. Hilson is expected to man the post position vacated by Brown.
“That's part of high school sports, having multi-sport athletes. Those guys are going to add some pieces and it's going to be fun to see what they bring,” said Giudice, who says there's four or five other players vying for that final starting position.
Brookwood, which finished 18-11 last year, opens the season Nov. 14 with a scrimmage at Cairo.