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Glenn Hills basketball off to great start

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He has the scrapbook to recall his playing days and the daily sights of blue banners and a team picture at the school gym to always remember the past.

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Glenn Hills' Santo Nina (center) runs a foot drill with teammates. The 11-0 Spartans, who are coached by Travis McRae, play Laney tonight.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Glenn Hills' Santo Nina (center) runs a foot drill with teammates. The 11-0 Spartans, who are coached by Travis McRae, play Laney tonight.

Glenn Hills boys basketball coach Travis McRae is never far from thinking about the Spartans’ success, and his team this year could see the program return to its previous heights.

McRae previously teamed with future NBA player and coach Michael Curry to lead the Spartans to the 1986 state semifinals, and was later an assistant coach on the 2008 state championship team. This season, McRae’s fifth as head coach, Glenn Hills is off to an 11-0 start. The Class AAAA Spartans are home against Laney at 8:30 tonight.

“I really wasn’t expecting this, especially with the schedule we had,” said McRae, who also coached the team to the state quarterfinals in 2010. “But this group as a whole, they’re not used to losing – they won a JV championship. If they’re going to lose, they’re going down fighting.”

“It’s been amazing. We worked hard and it was our time,” Santo Nina said. “We’ve been winning for a whole bunch of years. We just had to turn it over to the varsity level. We’ve got to keep working hard so we maintain being on top.”

The Spartans have won with depth on a team that has only one senior. But there are plenty of juniors – they are nine of the 12 listed on the roster – who learned and grew the past two seasons.

The players say they’re winning because they’re all capable of contributing. A glance at the scorebook might show just a player or two in double figures, but seven other players
often score.

“The goal is to finish strong and try to get to a state championship,” said Naquan Turner, who’s the only senior. “That’s all; no more than that. We’re just trying to stay humble and not let it get to our heads.”

On its path to 11-0, Glenn Hills has vanquished the likes of Class AAAAA school Allatoona, Class AAAAAA squad Central Gwinnett.


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