Nothing was the same: Tift Co.'s 2017 title defense starts in 2 weeks

Nothing was the same: Tift Co.'s 2017 title defense starts in 2 weeks
Chris Wade (Source: WALB)
Chris Wade (Source: WALB)
JJ McClain (Source: WALB)
JJ McClain (Source: WALB)

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Tift County basketball will be defending a state championship in 2017, but they'll be doing so as a totally different team.

The Blue devils started official practice this week down in Tifton.

They graduated five seniors from the title team, three of which were their three top scorers.

PJ Horne, Micah Johnson and Fred Lloyd accounted for 44 points per game.

That's nearly 65 percent of the scoring.

Couple that with 1st year Head coach Chris Wade taking over for the departed Eric Holland--and there's plenty of change in Tifton.

"The team will look different from a physical standpoint and from a schematic standpoint," said Wade at a Tuesday practice. "Those things will be different. We're not going to try to prove anything as far as what the teams have done in the past, but we do want to uphold the integrity of the program."

Senior forward J.J. McClain is entering the season with a chip on his shoulder.

"We won the state championship last year and nobody is respecting us so we're just trying to build our respect back up and get back to where we was at last year," said McClain.

The Blue Devils open the season against Meadowcreek in the Elite 8 tip off classic November 11th.

That's at McEachern High School.

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