The Glynn Academy girls basketball team hosted a one-day shootout on Wednesday where they played scrimmages with four other schools. The Lady Terrors took on Pierce County and Charlton, but Lowndes County and San Jose Prep from Jacksonville were also there.
While it was a Lady Terror event, it was also time for Shayla Smith, Glynn assistant coach and head coach of the FBC Nightmares AAU team to see some of her girls play against each other.
“I have three girls that have actually played in the program on Charlton County,” Smith said. “I have seven on San Jose Prep, and then one on Glynn Academy — Paris played for us years ago, and I have two on Lowndes. So pretty much there is this Southeast Georgia connection going on that they’ve either played in the program or currently play in the program with me.”
Smith said they decided to do this event after going to other places each summer.
“Every summer, we’ve seen other teams do it. Last year, we wanted to do it, but with COVID-19, we didn’t have a summer, so we wanted to take the opportunity to bring some of the talent to the southeast,” Smith said. “We’re always going to everybody else’s tournaments, so we wanted to do something here at Glynn Academy. We knew it was going to be small due to the auxiliary gym being built — we didn’t want to invite too many teams in with the conditions of not having an AC.”
Even with just five teams, those games were intense and full of elite talent. Some of the girls from San Jose Prep are nationally ranked.
Smith said this event isn’t only good for her AAU girls, but also the Glynn Academy girls because it allows them to compete against talented teams that could help them get ready for the upcoming season.
She said that this area is kind of a hidden spot in terms of girls basketball and getting them recruited, so any way she can get the exposure, she will.
“I tell them, it gives them that exposure,” Smith said. “We’re close to Jacksonville, but it’s that little pocket of the 912 area that those kids — they get overlooked. This whole area is a football recruiting grounds. So we’re trying to bring that back into the area. I always try to reach out to any kids in the area and say, ‘Hey, look, we’re doing this. We’re based out of Jacksonville. I got a team in Savannah. Come, let’s do this.’”
The Lady Terrors already have a tough region, so going up against teams like San Jose only helps them improve.
“We have a tough region —we’re tough. So, for us to go out there and try to get those games with those players that are on a national scene is only going to prepare our girls for the season,” Smith said. “We always say it’s not about wins and losses, it’s about us being able to compete. We have a young team; we want to be able to compete and build into this upcoming season.”
One of those girls is rising junior Alindria Dudley, who is transitioning into a point guard role for the Lady Terrors. She’s on another AAU team, but Smith said it’s one of the top travel programs.
Smith called her the energizer bunny and after two games on Wednesday, it was evident why she has the nickname.
“She’ll run through a wall for you. She’s the type of kid that wants to work hard like she’s already telling me now coach, any way I can get some training in today? I’m like, you just played two games in a hot gym,” Smith said. “Like, she’s that type of kid — she wants to get better, and she’s willing to get better. We’re looking for her to be a leader this year. She has the most varsity experience next to Paris Smith.”
Smith said they’re looking for her to take on a leadership role and run the offense, especially with fellow teammate Akirria Mountain coming back from injury.
“We leaned on Alindria a lot last season, so we’re looking to see how much she’s develops this summer,” Smith said. “She’s high motor, high energy, and coachable. She’s so tough on herself, but we tell her it’s OK to be tough on yourself, everybody makes mistakes and just play through it — next play mentality. That’s the type of kid Alindria is — just a hard worker.”
She was a freshman on the state runner-up team where that group took her under their wings. After taking on the point guard role in Mountain’s absence, Smith said she had to work on a few things, but with her playing on that travel team, she’s grown a lot.
“She kind of got thrown into the fire a little bit last year, so she had to take a huge leap because she always played off-ball,” Smith said. “She really had to work on her ball handling, she had to be the leader for us, handle the ball, and pretty much that kid didn’t come on the game unless she was in foul trouble or fouled out.
“We saw her grow, and now, she will be able to play on one of the top travel basketball program, so she’s getting better. She’ll be one of those kids in July, so I’m interested to see — her recruiting is probably going to pick up crazy going into August. We’re going to see the type of player that she’s transitioned into.”
Smith and her FBC Nightmare team are heading to Louisville, Kentucky, July 4-13 to compete on the national stage. Events like the shootout on Wednesday are just preparing them for it. While they have support, more support is always welcomed.
“We have a Facebook page as well. We have Instagram, we have Twitter, and we’re called FBC Nightmares. But anybody that wants to support, we’re always down. We got sponsorship letters, we have all that,” Smith said. “With travel coming up in July, we need all the support for the kids. We are going to be gone for a long period of time. Even if they want to donate fruit, Gatorades, whatever, we will take it all — anything they want to give to the program.”