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Highlanders aim for GISA title
First Presbyterian returns strong nucleus
Ahmad Muhammad goes against a Youth ChalleNGe Academy player last season. The FPCA boys' basketball team has several returning veterans this year as they chase a fourth state title. - photo by John Wood

Bringing experience and talent, the First Presbyterian Christian Academy boys’ basketball players are back on the hard wood to try for a state championship.
Ahmad Muhammed, DeAngelo Streeter, Herbert Roberts, Domonique Kirkley, George Mitchell and Chris Guilfo are returning veterans who give the Highlanders plenty of speed and scoring potential.
“We do have the nucleus of our team back, and we are adding another player out of Florida to the team as our No. 2 guard, and we are looking to do well this year,” Highlander coach Ernie Walthour said.
The coach said former Liberty County High School player Kevin Womack has transferred to FPCA as well.
“He was a good pick-up for us,” Walthour said. “He played for us in the summer, and he is familiar with what we do.”
The Highlanders, who are coming off a 15-10 overall record and a 6-2 mark in Region 2-AA of the Georgia Independent School Association, will open Wednesday with a scrimmage against Fort Stewart’s Youth ChalleNGe Academy at the St. James Sports Center. FPCA officially opens the season Dec. 11 against Appling Christian in Baxley.
The coach said he has lofty goals this year — first, getting past Frederica Academy, the team Walthour thinks his squad will face for another shot at the state title. Last year, FPCA beat Frederica, 62-57, in overtime to earn the region title. Frederica then beat FPCA in the state title game, 69-47.
“Frederica has an excellent program, and they are well coached, and they will be one of the teams we will have to look at,” he said. “We went to the finals against them last year and fell a little short, but we had a lot to build on over the summer so we’ve been working hard to get back to that level again.”
Another big rivalry game on the Highlanders’ schedule  will be Jan. 17 when the Highlander host Bethesda in the Highlanders’ first home game. The Blazers still feel the sting from being denied the state title two years in a row at the hands of the Highlanders. The schools no longer play in the same classification but the rivalry still provides for high level playing from both sides.
One team FPCA will miss playing this season is Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici. Both schools enjoyed a growing rivalry which meant a packed house and intense close games the past three seasons. But because of football and other scheduling conflicts, FPCA wasn’t able to nail down a game against the Crusaders.

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