Georgia Highlands Chargers have high hopes to build on last year’s success

(From left) Fritz Lucien, Kevin Thomas-Griffin, Doniel Dean, and Paris Ballinger prepare for the upcoming season at a recent workout.

(From left) Fritz Lucien, Kevin Thomas-Griffin, Doniel Dean, and Paris Ballinger prepare for the upcoming season at a recent workout. Photo by Taylor Barton

Coming off last year’s successful season, Phil Gaffney, men’s head basketball coach and athletics director, believes the men’s basketball team is looking forward to another competitive year.

Although a few athletes from last season’s NJCAA final-four team transferred to either a Division 1 or Division 2 school, the coaching staff still has high expectations for the 2015-16 Chargers team.

For returning players such as Doniel Dean, Paris Ballinger and Quay Fergerson, this will be the chance to pick up where they left off last year.

“As a team we are expecting to build on last year’s success and carry it on. We have a vision of creating a winning culture and starting something new at GHC,” stated Ballinger.

The only huge difference is that this is almost a whole new team.

Gaffney said, “We have nine guys who have either practiced or played college basketball last year. Even though they were not on our team, we still have more mature basketball players. We have strong guys. They just have to mesh together.”

Following the success of last year, the Highlands basketball team will have some big shoes to fill.

According to Gaffney, “The players are unknowledgeable of the odds right now, but the team knows they will be targeted by other teams based off of last year’s national recognition.”

The Chargers’ first game this fall will be at a tournament hosted by and played against the 2014-15 NJCAA champion, Northwest Florida. This is the team that the Chargers were beating by 15 points in the national semi-finals but ultimately lost to, ending their post-season.

The Chargers will also get to test their new abilities against other big schools in the next four games of the season.