Four things to know about River Region high school basketball

The Montgomery area basketball season is underway with COVID-19 related cancellations, star performances, and more.

As teams adjust to pandemic guidelines and constantly changing schedules, here are some early season questions for the River Region: 

a group of people playing a game of football: Prattville's Peyton Harris (10) takes a three-pointer at Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Lanier defeated Prattville 77-68. © Jake Crandall/ Advertiser Prattville's Peyton Harris (10) takes a three-pointer at Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Lanier defeated Prattville 77-68.

Can Lee and Calhoun defend their titles? 

The two area teams to win state titles last season are off to positive starts. 

 J.D. Davison is the main carry over from Calhoun's Class 2A championship roster. The Alabama commitment hasn't stopped. He's had multiple outings of 50-plus points as the Tigers (4-3) have wins over Mount Vernon and Wilcox Central. 

 "It's gonna be kind of scary this year for some people," Starr said. 

After a summer of tragedy, Class 7A champions Robert E. Lee will compete in 6A this season. 

The Generals (2-1)  didn't practice for two weeks before losing in their season-opener against Oak Mountain. Coach Bryant Johnson and a few players tested positive for COVID-19. Since then, however, Lee has won two straight. 

Jamal Albritton posted a triple-double on Nov. 25 against Helena.

How will schools handle COVID-19 protocols?

Carver girls coach Adria Harris has tried to create a bubble within the team, though she knows so much of this season is unpredictable. 

The team has purchased Wolverine-branded garter masks for each player to wear throughout the season. Harris believes a season is more likely to conclude if schools go fully remote. 

How will the 2020 new coaches adjust with truncated preseason?

Among the many new coaches in the area, Prattville's Steve Rogers is trying to install his system under peculiar circumstances. 

"We're doing anything (to try) to limit opportunities of contact," he said. 

Other new coaches in the area include: 

  • Park Crossing boys: Courtney Ward 
  • Sidney Lanier boys: Anterio Thomas 
  • Stanhope Elmore boys: David Cochran
  • Montgomery Academy girls: Reg Mantooth
  • Pike Road girls: Barry Fencher

What impact will transfers have?

a man standing in front of a crowd: Lanier head coach Terry Thomas at Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Lanier defeated Prattville 77-68. © Jake Crandall/ Advertiser Lanier head coach Terry Thomas at Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Lanier defeated Prattville 77-68.

A few key transfers in the region can bolster top teams' title chances. 

Montgomery Academy welcomed a new coach and a new elite talent to the roster. Reigning Alabama Independent School Association player of the year Chloe Johnson has slotted in well as starting point guard. 

She averaged 14.1 points, 5.4 assists and five rebounds a game last year at Lee-Scott. Johnson has posted double-digit points in each of the Eagles' three wins. 

For Lee's boys team, Kentucky transfer Lagreer Surles has proven to be a consistent scorer, too. He led the Generals in the season opener with 10 points. He also scored 11 against Helena with his brother, Laneer Surles, also posting double-digits. 

"They're gonna be some world's shocked because everybody thinks we lost a lot," coach Bryant Johnson said, "What we got coming this year, it might be even better."

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Four things to know about River Region high school basketball

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