The air has already turned crisp, and the leaves have almost all fallen, which means it's time to start turning our attention indoors -- and the return of the high school basketball season.
The 2012-13 season will get fully underway this week and is chock full of questions and intrigue for the area's hoop programs.
Teams like Dawson County, North Hall, Buford, Lakeview and East Hall will look to maintain or exceed last year's campaigns, while others look to rebound or forge ahead.
For a look at what the area's programs have on tap for 2012-13, simply scroll down the page...
2012-13 Area Boys Basketball Previews
-- REGION: 7-AAA
-- 2011-12 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 12-15
-- RETURNING STARTERS: 1
-- KEY PLAYERS: Sr. PG Greg Canon
-- SEASON OUTLOOK: After graduating seven seniors and returning just one player with experience, the Leopards know wins won't come easy in coach Mike Cleveland's second campaign in charge. Banks County will enter the season with extreme inexperience, and the Leopards hope to gain a crash course on varsity play before taking on a very tough Region 7-AAA schedule. The Leopards do have senior leadership at the point guard position, a key for any team, and Banks County hopes to use that to its advantage.
-- REGION: 7-AAA
-- 2011-12 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 22-8, Region 6-AA runner-up, reached Class AA second round
-- RETURNING STARTERS: 3
-- KEY PLAYERS: Sr. SF AJ Davis (6-foot-8, University of Tennessee commit), Sr. PG Isaiah Williams, Sr. SF Coby Durden, Sr. SF Brad Mapes (Embry-Riddle University commit), Sr. SG Chris Pass, Sr. PF Kyle Doyle, Sr. SG Austin Pickett (Cedarville University commit), Jr. PF Justice Bartley
-- SEASON OUTLOOK: After last year's disappointing finish that saw them bounced from the state playoffs in the second round, the Wolves are are reloaded and ready to impress again. Featuring a number of seniors, including a number of college commits and explosive players such as Davis, Buford will look to overwhelm most opponents -- with defense. The Wolves will base everything on an aggressive defense that will look to force turnovers and score in transition. Coach Allen Whitehart says his team must work together and focus on the team concept to experience the kind of success that Buford is targeting. The Wolves will certainly look the part, towering over most opposition.
-- REGION: 8B-AAAA
-- 2011-12 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5-20
-- RETURNING STARTERS: 7 different players who started at least one game return
-- KEY PLAYERS: Sr. G Keelan Passmore, Sr. G Jordan DeGraff, Sr. G Justin Jones, So. G Jordan Pulliam
-- SEASON OUTLOOK: The War Eagles are growing more accustomed to their new style of playing fast and they hope to make that pay off this season. It was clear that Chestatee was improving at the end of last season, going 5-4 over its final nine games after opening the season 0-17. The War Eagles return the bulk of that team, including a number of guards that will look to get up and down the floor and force the tempo on offense and defense. Chestatee also features a strong group of sophomores that made up the bulk of a successful junior varsity program last season. The War Eagles don't know much about their competition -- outside of Johnson, Lumpkin County and Stephens County -- in Region 8-AAAA but hope to make the most of their move up in classification.
-- REGION: 8A-A
-- 2011-12 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 15-13, reached Class A preliminary round
-- RETURNING STARTERS: 4
-- KEY PLAYERS: Sr. G Thomas McMillan (15.4 ppg), Sr. G Jonathan Book (11.8 ppg), Sr. F Robert Hayes (8.3 ppg), Sr. G Tyre Treadwell, Jr. G Keenan Lord, Jr. F Tony Patman
-- SEASON OUTLOOK: After having been to the state playoffs for four straight seasons, the Tigers are looking to continue that streak under new head coach Rob Brown. Promoted after serving as junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant, Brown will maintain much of the same styles of offense and defense the Tigers employed under Chad Bridges -- now boys coach at Stephens County. Commerce returns plenty of production in McMillan, Book and Hayes and will look to improve on last year's No. 4 seed in Region 8-A. Commerce knows that won't be easy in a region that includes Athens Christian, Lakeview Academy and George Walton.
-- REGION: 7-AAA
-- 2011-12 RECORD/ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 25-7, Region 8-AA champion, reached Class AA quarterfinals -- best season in Tigers history
-- RETURNING STARTERS: 5
-- KEY PLAYERS: Sr. W Tyler Dominy (All-Region, Honorable Mention All-State, 15 ppg, 8 rpg), Sr. G Will Anglin (9 ppg, 3 spg), Sr. W Gunnar Armstrong (8 ppg, 85% free throws), Jr. PG Jonathan Sanderson, Sr. C Bruce Clark (leading rebounder)
-- SEASON OUTLOOK: When you're coming off your best season in school history and return your top eight scorers and rebounders, expectations will be, understandably, high. The Tigers came within seconds of reaching the Class AA semifinals and a berth in Macon last season and will hope to take an extra step this season with the return of a talented and gritty group of players. Senior center Camron Chester and junior wings Lucas Pain and Jackson Putnam are only expected to add to a group that put together a thrilling postseason run in 2011-12, which includes plenty of standouts