• 37°

FDA varsity girls earn experience at Troy hoops camp

Madison Langford will serve as a key source of experience as a returning senior to the FDA varsity girls basketball team.

Madison Langford will serve as a key source of experience as a returning senior to the FDA varsity girls basketball team.

Not to be outdone by their junior varsity counterparts, the Fort Dale Academy varsity girls basketball team took to Troy last weekend for a team camp at Troy University.

While there, the Lady Eagles faced high-level competition from not only around the state of Alabama, but also a number of tough opponents from Georgia and Florida, as well.

Reggie Mantooth, head coach of the varsity girls basketball team, said that there’s no such thing as an early start in the world of high school basketball.

“It’s a chance for the new players as well as your returning players to get some experience going into next year,” Mantooth said.

If the 2015 season taught the Lady Eagles anything, it’s that the postseason is an altogether different experience from the regular season.

After a strong close to the regular season, the Lady Eagles’ postseason was cut tragically short by Glenwood, one of the strongest teams in the state.

The experiences of the Troy camp this summer gave the Lady Eagles an opportunity to experience facing opponents at a similar level.

But Fort Dale also has to contend with a few roster shakeups, as well.

The FDA 2016 graduating class took with it Anjoy Castleberry and Marion Lightfoot, two starters crucial to the success of the 2015 Lady Eagles team.

Madison Gibson and Cheyenne Kilpatrick, who added key depth to the Lady Eagles’ roster, round out the exodus from the team.

“We lost four seniors total, so this camp really gives an opportunity for some of the upcoming junior high players, as well as some of the players who maybe didn’t play a lot last year that will be counted on this year, to get some experience,” Mantooth said.

Fortunately, given his assessment of the team’s performance during the Troy camp, the future is looking bright for the 2016 campaign.

“I thought we did pretty good. We were able to compete with most teams, we won a couple of games and we had a couple of close games,” Mantooth said.

“Again, it’s not necessarily about playing to win.  We’d like to win, but we’re trying to play everybody and we’re trying to get experience.  I think it really helped us.  And it gave us an opportunity to get better and to see what we need to do to keep getting better.”

Moreover, the Lady Eagles continue to receive great contributions from rising stars who have made their way to the team from the junior varsity squad, including Anna Blake Langford, who will prove a key part of the Lady Eagles’ offense in the fall.

“She had a good year for us last year,” Mantooth said.

“A lot will be expected from her this year, especially scoring-wise.  She’s a really good, quick defensive player, and I think if she continues to improve her shooting and offensive game, she’ll be a really good player for us.”

Though the Lady Eagles won’t hit the hardwood again until the school’s all-ages camp at the end of July, the varsity boys team will be in action this weekend at a similar team camp in Auburn.