Cates, the 13-year coach of the girls program, will return the core of last year’s team, which finished 18-11 and third overall in Region 5AAAAA.
With leading scorer Aunesha Williams, a junior, returning alongside, seniors Sara Byers, Morgan Darby, Kiana Howell and Christy Mixon, the Lady Warriors seem poised to improve upon last year’s record.
Cates made his intentions clear of what he expected from his team.
“We expect to compete in the region and make the state tournament,” he said.
Cates is hoping to see a mix of fast-break and post play on offense, while also planning on utilizing both man and zone marking on defense.
While Cates and the Lady Warriors seem to be entering the season with a balanced roster, it won’t be so for Kvam and the boys team.
With no player standing greater than 6-foot-1, Kvam expects to see five guards in his starting lineup.
“This will be the smallest team that I have had in 32 years,” Kvam said.
Despite his roster’s lack of height, Kvam believes the Warriors will still be strong defensively.
“We have always been a great defensive team,” said the 10th-year Cherokee coach. “That is what we hang our hat on.”
Kvam does feel, however, that the Warriors will face a challenge when it comes to rebounding.
Offensively, Cherokee will attempt to utilize its speed and high number of guards on the floor to attack on fast breaks.
“We have some very talented guards who possess good quickness and athleticism,” Kvam said. “We are going to be difficult to guard.”
The Warriors will be lead by three returning starters — junior Ja’Davin Keith, sophomore Jeremiah Gill and senior Armony Parker. Also projected to start are senior Kaleb Rogers and junior Zack Kvam.
Despite the unusual makeup of his team, Kvam is excited to see how the season plays out.
“I’m curious to see how it works,” he said. “We are excited about the challenges that the teams in our region will represent. Our goal is to keep improving every day throughout the season, and I am very optimistic of what we can accomplish.”
Both teams will make their debuts Monday against Douglass in a Thanksgiving tournament at South Forsyth High School.