Zoesha Smith’s talent has always been apparent.
But now the Red Terror’s place as one of the best players in the state has become undeniable.
Smith’s junior season earned her numerous awards and accolades — though few more prestigious than her recent inclusion on the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s all-state team.
“It means a lot,” Smith said of the honor. “I’ve put in a lot of work.”
Smith was a jack-of-all-trades for Glynn Academy in a 26-5 season that saw the program win its first region championship since 1995 en route to an Elite 8 appearance in the Class 6A state playoffs. She averaged 19.9 points, 12 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game, which were all team-highs.
A Terror on the boards and in transition, Smith both scored more than 30 points and pulled down 20 rebounds in a contest on four separate occasions. She twice combined both feats, first in a 38-point, 20-rebound performance against Ware County before notching 33 points and 20 boards in a victory over Camden County.
It was a noticeable improvement over a sophomore year that saw Smith average 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds in nine games as she missed a majority of the season for disciplinary reasons.
“I improved on ball-handling, finishing around the basket, rebounding, free throws,” Smith said.
Glynn head coach Sharnesha Smith took over the program ahead of that season following a 16-12 campaign that ended in a first-round exit in the state playoffs for the second straight year.
Sharnesha Smith has spoken about her desire to change the culture of the program upon her arrival, and build trust with the players, and it had a profound effect on the Terrors’ standout.
“I just feel like she came and changed the whole program,” Zoesha Smith said. “She made some adjustments that needed to be made.”
After going 14-13 in the 2017-18 season, the Glynn Academy girls basketball program took off this past year with Smith acting as the rocket fuel.
The Terrors began the season 4-0 and improved to 22-3 by the end of January. On the balance of the year, Glynn Academy outscored opponents by nearly 14 points per game until its season came to an end in the state quarterfinals against eventual champion Lanier.
Despite coming up a bit short of a state title, it would be difficult to label the Terrors and Smith’s season as anything but a success.
In addition to the team making it’s longest playoff run in more than a decade, Smith earned Region 2-6A Player of the Year honors and a spot on the USA TODAY All-USA Georgia girls second team.
She also won MVP honors in the GACA junior all-star game following the season.
Glynn Academy doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon as four of the team’s starters are set to return for another run this upcoming season, including a potentially even more dangerous Smith leading the way.
“This year I’m working on shooting so I can be an all-around threat, outside the perimeter and everything,” Zoesha Smith said.