Loganville Boys Basketball

From left, Loganville head coach Josh Grayson with junior Thomas Grayson, senior Sheldon Arnold and senior CJ Butler during Walton County Basketball Media Day last month.

It’s going to be a season of change for the Loganville basketball team and they look to “rebound” after losing two of their best players to graduation.

 The Red Devils lost Akil Covington and Jamar Moore to graduation, but head coach Josh Grayson is confident in his team’s ability to make a return trip to the state playoffs.

“We lose two great players in Akil and Jamar. Replacing them will be out biggest thing,” Grayson said. “I can look at guys like Sheldon (Arnold), CJ (Butler) and Thomas (Grayson) and see where they fit in and expand their roles. We want to make it back to the state tournament, and I think that’s a good goal for us this season — especially in our region which is a really tough region.”

Loganville made it to the first round of the state playoffs last season, claiming the No. 3 seed out of Region 8-AAAAA last season, but lost to Lithonia 68-46.

The Red Devils return a core group of players this season including seniors Arnold, Butler, Thomas Barr, Cameron Williams and Mayseo Wood as well as junior Thomas Grayson.

Arnold will be one of the biggest pieces back for the Red Devils this season. The senior was a first team All-County selection last season and finished the 2018-19 season as the seventh leading scorer in Walton County after averaging 12.5 points per game. He’ll have to help fill the void left by Moore, who was The Tribune’s 2019 Player of the Year and averaged a double-double on the year.

“Rebounding will be biggest thing we have to do,” Arnold said. “I think the points will come from the talent we have on the perimeter, so we just have to go in and rebound more.”

Butler echoed Arnold’s statements.

“We as guards have to go in and rebound more,” Butler said. “That’s going to be big to replacing the production Jamar had for us.”

The Red Devils face a tough task in Region 8-AAAAA. Buford, the defending Class AAAAA state champion, is once again favored to win the region. However, after the Wolves, it’s a toss-up among Cedar Shoals, Clarke Central, Loganville and Walnut Grove for the other three playoff spots.

Loganville made waves last season when the Red Devils defeated Buford 59-54 at Buford, giving up just two turnovers all game en route to the massive upset.

“We’ve got to be smart with the ball,” Arnold said. “Having two turnovers all game against a team like Buford that presses all game really changes things. We have to continue to play defense really well and shoot the ball well to be successful this season.”

Loganville begins the season on Nov. 9 at home against Rockdale County. The Red Devils play host to rival Monroe Area on Nov. 19.

Brett Fowler is the sports editor of The Walton Tribune. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Georgia and a 2010 graduate of Monroe Area High School. Brett has been covering Walton County sports since 2011.