SMITHFIELD (WAVY) – The head coach at Smithfield High School for 18 years, Greg Dockery calls the 2015-2016 edition a “pleasant surprise.”
Since losing their season-opener at Bruton, the Packers (14-1) have won 14 straight, led by one the player Dockery says “she would have to rank pretty close to the top” of all the players he’s coached. Shannon Atkinson is a 6-foot-2 center,w ho will play at Temple University next season, and is the first division-I prospect in the Smithfield girls basketball history.
Even more, she’s one of only two girls players in Hampton Roads, along with Princess Anne’s Gadiva Hubbard, nominted to the McDonald’s All-America team.
“I was actually really shocked,” said Atkinson, who averages a double-double. “I wasn’t expecting that at all, but I put in the time, I put in the work, and I think I do deserve it.”
Jamilla Jordan, a senior guard for the Packers, has played alongside Atkinson since eighth grade, and can do nothing but smile when she thinks about how far her teammate and friend has come. “I’m going to tear up at the end of the season, because it’s just been so great,” said Jordan.
Like Atkinson, the Packers have been great. They’re in the drivers seat to claim their first Bay Rivers District title since 1989, and hope to be the first team in the program’s history to make it past the first round of the region tournament.