By Steve Swogetinsky

Kemper County Messenger

Preparations for Kemper Academy’s 2017-2018 basketball began Monday as the Rams prepare for their opener Nov. 7 at home against Newton County Academy.

The Rams have one player returning from last year’s team which played for the state championship.

"We lost several seniors,” Coach Scott Johnson said. “We had to wait until football season was over to see who would come out for basketball.”

Johnson, a 1996 graduate of Kemper Academy, is in his second year of coaching the Kemper Academy basketball teams.

“We had our first practice Monday,” Johnson said. “We have one senior, two juniors, eight sophomores and three freshmen out.

 “That’s better than last year. We had seven players last year and five graduated. Some of our guys have played junior high basketball and that will help. We also have a transfer from Sumter Academy who is going to help us.”

The roster numbers for the girls varsity team has also grown. The Lady Rams have 12 players, an increase from seven on last year’s team.

“Both teams will be young,” Johnson said. “I feel like we’ll improve as we practice and play some games.”