Busy day of basketball for Grangers

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Daily News

For anyone looking to get their basketball fix, LaGrange High was the place to be.

The LaGrange Grangers hosted a handful of teams for a play date on Tuesday as they continue what has already been a busy summer.

It was a winning day for LaGrange, which beat Opelika and Hardaway before closing the day with a game against Valdosta.

It was the Grangers’ third play date, and they’ll remain busy through the rest of this month as they prepare for the 2019-2020 season.

“We’ve had great tests, and we’re doing well,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said.

LaGrange is looking to improve on a 2018-2019 season that ended with a loss to Cartersville in the quarterfinals of the Region 5-AAAA tournament.

The summer gives the players an opportunity to build a bond, and for the coaches to find out what they’ll have for the upcoming season.

“They all play a lot, so really (the summer is) just developing chemistry, and it’s them getting to know us, and us getting to know them,” Veal said. “You can kind of gauge strengths and weaknesses, and we’re ahead of where we were last year. We’re playing hard.”

LaGrange lost four seniors from last season’s team, but a talented group of players are returning, including dynamic guard Kobe Jones, who had an outstanding freshman season.

“We graduated four,” Veal said. “We return a few, and then we’ve got some who’ve been waiting around, and now they’re getting a chance to play.”

In addition to Jones, other key returning players include seniors DJ Burks, Kindae Maddox and Earley Sanders, all of whom either started or played significant minutes last season.

Veal will be counting on some other players to fill the void left by the departed seniors, and the summer gives him an opportunity to see who may be up to the challenge.

One of the players Veal has been pleased with is junior Javon Brown, who is having a successful summer.

“He’s been working hard,” Veal said. “He’s helped us win some games this summer. He works hard, he’s athletic, and he does a good job.”

The Grangers have a handful of other play dates on tap this summer, and they’re also attending a Georgia High School Association team camp next week in Atlanta that’ll give the players an opportunity to see some top-flight competition.

“We get to go play Miller Grove, and South Gwinnett,” Veal said. “There are maybe 150 teams across Georgia going to it. It’s kind of a recruiting weekend where a bunch of college coaches can come out and watch.”

The Grangers will take some time off for the GHSA-mandated dead week the week of July 4th, and after that the work will continue, and the season opens in November.