The Sand Mountain Area returns a number of top players from a season ago, including six players who were nominated for All-State consideration last season, one of whom was selected to their respective team.
Here’s a look at each of those All-State nominees who return this season:
Olivia Vandergriff, Junior, Guard, Guntersville
Vandergriff exploded onto the scene last season and may well be the area’s top-returning shooter.
During her sophomore season, the 5-8 guard connected on 80 3-pointers on her way to averaging 14.2 points per game, the top returning girl’s mark, while dishing out over three assists per game, and coming up with 47 steals in 29 games.
For her efforts, Vandergriff was named to the Class 5A Third Team All-State, as well as the All-Area team for a Guntersville team that finished the season with a mark of 23-7.
Raygan Edmondson, Senior, Guard, Douglas
Edmondson is the top returning scorer in the area, boys or girls, and one of two returning players who averaged a double-double last season.
During his junior year, Edmondson led Douglas with 15.5 points per game, pulled in just under 11 rebounds per game, and dished out over two assists per game as well, earning Area MVP honors, team MVP honors, and helping Douglas reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2007 season, and a 20-8 record overall.
Edmondson should return bigger, faster, and stronger than last season after joining the Eagles’ football team this season as a wide receiver.
Brandon Fussell, Junior, Guard, Guntersville
Perhaps the best playmaker in the area, Fussell shined as both a scorer and passer last season, leading Guntersville in scoring and assists.
Fussell averaged 15.4 points per game last season and 4.2 assists, while connecting on 45 percent of his 3-point attempts last season.
The 6-foot-1 junior was named All-Area last season, helping Guntersville go 20-5 and reaching the 5A Sweet 16.
Cooper Davidson, Senior, Guard, Guntersville
Davidson did a little bit of everything for the Wildcats a season ago, finishing as the team’s second leading scorer, third in rebounds, and second in assists while teaming up with Fussell to give Guntersville one of the best guard duos around.
Davidson netted 15.2 points per game, pulled in over four rebounds per night, and dished out just under four assists per game in addition to a team-best 40 steals.
He also earned All-Area honors last season.
Jaxon Colvin, Sophomore, Guard, Geraldine
Colvin was the top freshman in the area last season, leading a strong Geraldine team in scoring and steals, while finishing second in rebounds during his first taste of varsity basketball.
Colvin, listed a 6-foot-3 last season, posted 13.6 points per game, grabbed 5.8 rebounds per game, and collected 47 steals on the season.
In addition to his All-State nomination, Colvin was named All-Area and was twice named to All-Tournament teams during the season.
Jayda Lacks, Junior, Post, Sardis
The top returning post player in the area, Lacks was a double-double machine for the Lions during her sophomore season.
Listed at just 5-9, Lacks was the most prolific rebounder in the area, pulling in 12.8 boards per night to go with 11.5 points per game, while swatting 76 shots in 29 games.
Lacks posted 16 double-doubles a season ago, as well as one triple double, helping the Lions reach 12 wins and the postseason.
Lacks opened her season on Monday night with a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) in a road win over 7A James Clemens.