After starting the season 0-6, the LaFayette Lady Bulldogs looked to be in bad shape. When you have Feliah Greer, however, you can only stay down for so long.
Greer was a pivotal player once again for LaFayette, which rebounded from the poor start by winning 11 of its last 14 games and reached postseason regional play for the first time in 13 years. That turnaround was in large part due to Greer, who averaged 28 points and eight rebounds in her junior season.
Thanks to her excellent play, Greer has been selected as the Opelika-Auburn News’ Small School Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“It was great getting to Jacksonville because LaFayette’s girls basketball team hadn’t been there in like 15 years,” Greer said. “We put in the work. We said we were going to make it at least to Jacksonville, and we did.”
Greer had established herself as one of the area’s best players last year, but she faced a new challenge alongside her teammates after a coaching change. Fred Bridges came into LaFayette from Russell County, and his efforts to push his new team forced Greer and the rest of the squad to work harder than ever before.
Early on, the results were rough for Greer and the rest of the team. While playing primarily schools at least two classifications higher than them, LaFayette started the season on a six-game losing streak that included three losses by at least 13 points.
From that point, Bridges saw a change. In his mind, it stemmed from Greer’s excellence and desire to win.
“It’s just her love of the game, the way she cares about the game and the success of the team,” Bridges said. “It’s not about the individual stuff with Feliah. She gets everybody else involved in the game. That’s what makes it sweet.”
LaFayette went on a tear from there, building a five-game and a three-game winning streak prior to the postseason. Greer kept the team winning once the area tournament began, as the Lady Bulldogs topped Horseshoe Bend by 16 and Ranburne by 13 to seal a top seed in the Class 2A state tournament.
After the Lady Bulldogs won the opening game of the playoffs, Greer put on arguably her best performance. Despite battling the flu, Greer played significant minutes against Collinsville and came down with 26 points.
LaFayette couldn’t keep up in a 21-point loss to the eventual state champions, but no one could say Greer didn’t give it her all.
“It was hard, but I really wanted it,” Greer said. “It was hard for me to breathe, so I had to keep getting subbed out of the game. When I go, the rest of the team goes. I tried to go. I tried to give it all I’ve got, but at some point I had to come out.”
Looking ahead to her senior year, Greer said she’s focused on improving her play with her left hand and getting her teammates more involved on offense. Greer has high hopes of playing at the collegiate level, and she believes another trip to Jacksonville — and perhaps a trip to Birmingham for the Final Four after that — would give her the exposure she wants.
Greer recalled not understanding why her senior teammates cried after a season-ending loss her ninth-grade season before later understanding how painful the end of a career could be. With one season to go at LaFayette, Greer is hopeful the last time she walks off the court as a Lady Bulldog is with a blue map in her hands.
“This upcoming year, I want a ring,” Greer said. “I’ve got to put in the work to get it. It just ain’t going to be handed to me. For my last year, I’m going to be in the gym every day to work and get better. Hopefully, I’ll have a ring on my finger.”