published Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Dade County High School's Cole Birchfield signs with Newberry College

  • photo
    Dade's Cole Birchfield (3) tries to push past LaFayette's Stefan Edmondson in this photo from a December game in LaFayette, Ga.
    Photo by Staff File Photo.
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Cole Birchfield seems to like small-town environments. He's decided to spend the next four years in a town that's smaller than Trenton, Ga., where he lives.

The 6-foot guard for Dade County High School recently signed to continue his basketball career at NCAA Division II Newberry (S.C.) College. He's going from the Wolverines to the Wolves, who play in the South Atlantic Conference with Carson-Newman, where area products Ish Sanders (Cleveland) and Cody Henegar (Marion County) play.

Birchfield averaged 29.9 points per game as a senior, including 59 with 13 3-pointers in a game against Howard. He tied the state record for made 3-pointers in that game.

He finished his Dade career with 1,742 points and 325 3-pointers, topping the 40-point mark on three other occasions as a senior. Birchfield was a Best of Preps honoree this season and was the Region 7-AA player of the year, as well as an all-state second-team selection.

"I really liked the coach, and just felt like it was where I needed to be," he said Wednesday afternoon. "They play fast and shoot a lot of 3s like we did at Dade, but they're a lot more intense on defense than we were and put more pressure in the half court."

Newberry finished 14-13 in 2012-13, the first time in 31 years the Wolves had back-to-back winning seasons. They led the SAC in scoring (88.1), assists (15.3) and steals (10.4), topping the 90-point mark 12 times and 100 points on five occasions.

Birchfield said he would have loved to play for a mid-major Division I school but is very content with his decision.

"Newberry College got a steal," Dade coach Glen Hicks said in a release. "A lot of people missed in recruiting on this young man."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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