And with four seniors, and two returning starters, he’s looking forward to picking up where former coach Nathan West’s Final Four team left off last spring.

Last month, Ashabranner took his players to Tallahassee, where they had a chance to meet with Seminole Coach Leonard Hamilton and Assistant Coach Stan Jones and tour their facilities.

"The kids had a front row seat to a D1 practice where they got to shake the hands of players they see on television," said the Seahawks coach. "Coach Hamilton addressed the team during practice and spoke to us about their preseason and his expectations of his team this year."

In Sept. 30, Ashabranner and wife Carla were hired by the school board to teaching positions. Both hold masters degrees, from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, with Ashabranner teaching high school phys ed.

He served as assistant hoops coach under Sandy Quinn in Port St. Joe, where his sister teaches. But after Hurricane Michael, he and his young family returned to Arkansas, and grew a robust photography business, while always wanting to return to education.

Ashabranner got his chance when West stepped down, and he’s been busy getting accustomed to life as a Seahawk teacher and coach.

"We have had several great weeks of practice," he said.

Juniors Eden Brathwaite and Lamarius Martin, both last year’s starters, are joined by senior Grady Escobar, who didn’t pick up many splinters on the bench as he had lots of playing time from last year’s Lakeland-bound season.

"They’ll be key guards for us this year," said Ashabranner.

Senior Ayden Pearson will be joined by sophomore Carter Kembro on the wings as post players.

Rounding out the varsity roster will be seniors Keondre Sewell and Jonathan Jones, sophomores Jerymiah Stephens and Jamal Robinson, and freshman Owen Poloronis.

The Seahawks open their season with an away game Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Wewahitchka.

On Thursday, Dec. 5 they’ll be playing at Arnold, and on Saturday Dec. 7 at Leon.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10 they’ll travel to Quincy to face Crossroads Academy, and then on Friday and Saturday, Dec 13 and 14, they’ll be hosting the Battle on the Bay tournament, sure to be a hit.

On Friday, Dec. 20 they host Bozeman, and then the year will come to a close, and 2020 will be the start of their run for another district and regional title and a shot at a state championship.

Their Class 1A Region R2 opponents will be Blountstown, Bozeman, Crossroads Academy, Liberty County, Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka.