Class 3A Blog: Marsh has Hart boys back in the mix

Hart County High School basketball player Elijah Robison tries to take a shot while being guarded by Pace Academy High School player Madison, Durr during the first round of the state basketball tournament at Pace Academy high school Saturday, February 16, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Hart County High School basketball player Elijah Robison tries to take a shot while being guarded by Pace Academy High School player Madison, Durr during the first round of the state basketball tournament at Pace Academy high school Saturday, February 16, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

The Hart County boys basketball team lost in the state title game to Region 8-3A foe Morgan County to end the 2019 season, then lost to Central-Macon last season in the second round.

It appears the program is ready to shed those disappointments.

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 in the class behind former-4A and top-ranked Sandy Creek and No. 2 Windsor Forest. Hart is 9-2 and coming off an 87-82 loss to Rabun Gap on Monday. The other loss came in its opener against Class 6A No. 6 Lanier.

Harry Marsh coached at Hart County from 1980-1997 and has been back leading the Bulldogs for three seasons, competing in one of the 3A’s toughest regions.

“Last year we had a good record and a Sweet 16 appearance,” Marsh said. “We return three starters from that team. But right now we are just getting ready for region play. In the last two years, we’ve had three teams from the region in the (state) finals and one, Morgan, winning. So our region is very tough.”

Marsh answered several questions in a wide-ranging Q&A about his team, the season and the new-look classification.

Q. Region 8-3A is stout. What is the focus heading into region play?

A. Our region is very tough. Morgan won the title last year, and they want to beat us. We are trying to iron out what weaknesses we have seen so far and get ready for league play. Hopefully, with the virus, we will be able to get all that in.

Q. Speaking of the COVID-19, you guys weathered several positive tests. What was that like?

A. We were shut down for 11 days earlier in the year, which made it difficult. We lost some games, but we picked up a few like the Rabun Gap game last night. But every school in the state is dealing with that issue.

Q. Tell me about your team this season.

A. We have seven seniors. Sean Webb has been a three-year starter for us as a forward/guard or so. He can play multiple positions and score inside or outside. A lot of things are built around Sean. We have two junior guards – J.C. Curry and Sean Teasley. Curry is athletic, shoots really well, jumps well and shoots well on the perimeter and takes the ball to the basket very strong. Teasley is really quick and strong and passes the ball well. At center, we have 6-foot-7 sophomore Tahj Johnson. He is coming on strong, but we want him to play more physical. Sometimes he can play on the perimeter, which he likes, but he needs to be inside for us. Then we start another senior at a wing position, Ben Edwards. He is a good 3-point shooter and we hope to space the floor with him and give the other guys some room to penetrate or post up. We are just working like every other team ... working on region play.

Q. Class 3A looks different this season after Pace Academy – the defending champions – reclassed to 2A. What do you see when you look around at 3A?

A. You know, I have not really looked at a lot of the new teams. I mean, there’s Sandy Creek and I know they have two Division-1 players, so they will be strong. And then the Savannah programs are always strong. Then, up in 6-3A, another team that dropped from 4A to 3A is No. 5 LaFayette, and they are tough. You just must be ready every night that you go out. Of course, nothing is a given.

Class 3A boys top 10

1. Sandy Creek

2. Windsor Forest

3. Hart County

4. Johnson-Savannah

5. LaFayette

6. Salem

7. Cross Creek

8. Sonoraville

9. Thomson

10. Murray County

Class 3A girls top 10

1. Johnson-Savannah

2. Beach

3. Coahulla Creek

4. Lumpkin County

5. Cross Creek

6. Sonoraville

7. Upson-Lee

8. Greater Atlanta Christian

9. Cedar Grove

10. Stephens County

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