Glenwood girls unite to cement championship legacy


The 2023-24 Glenwood girl’s basketball team was as star-studded as they come, but no part was bigger than the whole as the Gators rushed to hoist their third state championship trophy in the last four years.
Just a few weeks after notching his 14th state championship as a coach at Glenwood — his seventh as a basketball coach — Dusty Perdue was inducted into the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 24. The 20-plus-year coach led a Gator team with five seniors, including several who have been key contributors on three state championship teams in the last four years.
Anna Grace Griggs and Olivia Slocumb both started on all three of the program’s state championship teams dating back to their freshman year, and Takayla Davis helped the Gators win two titles in three seasons at Glenwood. Along with multiple rings, that trio ended their high school careers as AISA All-Stars.
“Anna Grace and Olivia will go down as two of the most decorated basketball players in our program,” Perdue said. “[Takayla] is the best rebounder we’ve ever had up to now.”
Griggs and Davis each accumulated over 1,000 points at Glenwood, and Davis added 1,000 rebounds as well. While those two led on the stat sheet, Perdue said none of it would be possible without Slocumb, who fell just short of 1,000 career points.
“What Olivia doesn’t get in points or rebounds or stats, she gets in leadership,” Perdue said. “Olivia Slocumb is the glue that held everything together.”
Those three led the way in what Perdue called the Gators’ redemption year, but it was the entire “well-oiled machine” that helped them reach their full potential.
After losing to Clarke Prep in last year’s state title game, Glenwood went 28-5 this season with a chip on its shoulder down the stretch. The Gators finished the season on an 18-game win streak dating back to Dec. 20 — including wins over Morgan Academy, Springwood and Lee-Scott in the postseason. They went undefeated in region play and did not lose to an in-state opponent all year.
Fueled by their unsatisfactory play to end last season as the runners up, Glenwood stormed into the title game and capped off their winning streak by defeating rival Lee-Scott for the fifth time of the season, 45-36. Davis took command by dropping 21 points and 15 rebounds, earning an AISA 3A Postseason All-Tournament selection alongside Griggs and freshman Halle Palmore.
The fire that the team ended the season with was lit during team outings right before Christmas break. Once the team bought into finishing the season cohesively, they began to feed off of each other.
That cohesion led to moments like the one at the start of the second half during the state championship game.
“We were up by only about four or five going to halftime, and we told the team we needed a big possession coming out of halftime,” Perdue said.
Right off the bat, junior Clara Crisco hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put Glenwood up by “nine or 10” heading to the fourth quarter. That clutch energy set her teammates up to slam the door.
After some turnovers and miscues by Glenwood, Lee-Scott found its way back into the game. However, sophomore Emersyn White came in and swung momentum back in Glenwood’s favor with an impressive bucket from the top of the key sandwiched between a pair of timely assists, feeding Davis and allowing her to seal the deal on the championship campaign.
The Gators had all the talent they needed from the start, but the team’s legacy goes far beyond the court. They cemented themselves as champions and set the tone for the program in years to come by coming together as a unit.
The Hall-of-Fame coach knows all too well that no one becomes great by doing it alone, and he preaches that to his teams. This year’s girls state championship team is another example of that he can attest to.
“I told the whole school at our assembly this morning, ‘Find somebody that was on this girls basketball team to figure out how to become a better teammate,’” Perdue said. “Because they were all good teammates. They all cheered for each other on and off the court, and when you find that formula, you have a pretty good team. I was very fortunate to be able to coach them.”