Word that Bryan County High School was moved up to Class AA during the recent Georgia High School Association reclassification was probably music to the ears of the region's girls' basketball coaches.
After all, under fourth-year coach Mario Mincey, the Lady Redskins have again become on of the region's most dominant programs.
And even though the Lady Redskins (27-4 in 2010-11) lost several standout seniors, expectations haven't diminished in Pembroke.
"This year we want to be in the hunt for the region championship and get back to the state playoffs for the third straight year," Mincey said. "We have a few players that have been on varsity for the past three seasons and we hope that they can carry us at the start of the season."
What's more, the Lady Redskins might even have to rely on a few freshmen at times. But though Mincey didn't single out individual returning players, expect senior Tiffany Howard to play a key role in the Lady Redskins' fortunes.
Howard, a speedy 5-foot-3 point guard, earned first-team All-Region 3-A honors last season and is one of the school's most decorated four-sport athletes ever. Every team she was a member of went to state competition, and she recently became the school's first athlete to sign a letter of intent with a Southeastern Conference school when she signed to play softball at Auburn.
But Howard isn't the only reason the Lady Redskins have reason to believe their last season in 3-A will be a good one. First-team All-Region pick Satashala Beasley (5-feet-11) and junior forward Taylor Butler (5-feet-10) give Bryan County good size. Seniors Ayanna Harvey, Jerri Hines and Sierra Newman, along with juniors Diamond Mcgirt, Macy Newman and sophomore guard Seniorita Ivey will be counted on, as well.