Sharnesha Smith GACA COTY

Glynn Academy Principal Matthew Blackstone, left, and athletic coordinator Jeff Parker present girls basketball coach Sharnesha Smith with a plaque from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association naming her Region Coach of the Year.

In just her second season at Glynn Academy, Sharnesha Smith led the Red Terrors’ girls basketball team to its first region championship in 24 years and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A playoffs.

For her role in turning a 14-13 team into a 26-5 powerhouse, Smith was named the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association’s Region Coach of the Year. She received a plaque commemorating the award Tuesday.

“Of course, it’s huge, it’s a great accomplishment, but as always, it’s bigger than me,” Smith said. “I think this is mainly for my staff and our program. It’s an award just showing the job that we’re doing there at Glynn Academy.

“We’re building something special, and we’ve been able to make a lot of strides in two years, which is huge. Don’t get me wrong, we have a long way to go. It’s a process, and the girls are trusting the process, my staff is trusting the process, and then of course, everyday with the support of our staff, and my team, and just the support staff that we have around with our parents and alumni, it just pushes me to do a good job.”

The Terrors blew through the regular season and after taking the top seed into the region tournament, they continued to roll right to the title and a No. 1 seed in the state playoffs.

Glynn went on to blast its opponents in the first two rounds of the postseason, beating Evans and Stephenson 54 combined points before falling on the road to eventual state champion Lanier.

The program’s success under Smith is unlikely to be a one-year wonder. When she took over at Glynn Academy, Smith worked to change the program at its core.

And with four of the team’s starters set to return for another run this upcoming season, the Terrors should be a forced to be reckon with in the short term, as well as over the long haul.

“I had to change the culture there,” Smith said. “That was my number one thing, I wanted to change the culture. I wanted to change how the girls act. I wanted to change their outlook on a lot of things. I wanted them to be playing for something, and I wanted them to know I had their back 100 percent, and I wanted to build that trust with them to not only let me be their coach, but be their leader and their mentor as well.

“That has been a huge aspect to our growth in our program, it’s because just the relationship we have with one another. We’re intentional with that. We intentionally care for one another, and I preach that all the time to the girls.”

Chmaiya Miller was an integral member of the team as she was second in scoring with 12.6 points per game, but she was one of just four seniors on the roster and the only one to appear in more than 15 games this season.

Starter Zuri Patrick, and all-region team selections La’Trinty Best and La’Neia Taylor, will be back for the Terrors, as will Zoesha Smith — the Region 2-6A Player of the Year.

Zoesha Smith was also named to the USA TODAY All-USA Georgia girls second team after a junior season that saw her average team highs in points (19.9), rebounds (12), steals (2.3), and blocks (1.3), and she won MVP honors in the GACA junior all-star game following the season.

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