Photo: Glencoe High School senior Anna Beth Giles recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Birmingham Southern College. Pictured, from left: GHS girls basketball coach Jamie Barkley, sister Katie, mom Donna, Anna Beth, dad Charlton. (Courtesy of Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Anna Beth Giles’ athletic and academic prowess recently paid big dividends.
The Glencoe High School senior signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Birmingham Southern College on Jan. 31 at the GHS library.
With Giles in the starting lineup since her freshman year, the GHS varsity girls basketball team has gone 79-39 while finishing as the Northeast Regional Tournament runner-up the past two seasons. This is the third straight year the Lady Yellow Jackets have won at least 20 games.
For her career, Giles has accumulated 1,327 points, 526 rebounds, 439 steals and 450 assists. She currently is averaging 12.3 points, four rebounds, 4.5 assists and four steals as Glencoe finished the regular season as the ninth-ranked team in Class 3A. She and her fellow seniors have a 67 percent career winning percentage.
“It’s really exciting, because I’ve always wanted to play basketball in college,” said Giles, who currently is undecided on a major at BSC. “I really like Birmingham Southern, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity. I really liked the [BSC] coaches and the facilities and the campus. It was just a really friendly environment the first time I visited, and I liked it better than anywhere else.”
As a junior last season, Giles averaged 14 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds while helping the Lady Yellow Jackets post a 21-9 record, win a county tournament championship and qualify for a third straight regional tournament berth. She was a Class 3A All-State third team selection and was Player of the Year on the All-Messenger girls basketball team.
“Anna Beth’s hard work and determination is not limited to the basketball court or running track or cross country,” said GHS girls basketball coach Jamie Barkley. “She works hard in the classroom, and we are super-proud of her. I’ve known her since we moved to Alabama in 2012, and I always know what to expect from her on the court, in the classroom and out in public. She leads our team well on and off the court.
“Anna Beth doesn’t get rattled very easily, and that’s why she’s such a good point guard. There were so many times during games when I told Anna Beth that I needed something done, and she went back out there and did it. She’s a go-getter that makes things happen in a positive way, and that will serve her very well in the future.”
Barkley sees Giles as making an impact for the Lady Panthers next year.
“Anna Beth is used to carrying a heavy workload on the court and in the classroom, so I don’t expect that she’ll be overwhelmed. I know that she’ll represent herself and Glencoe High School well [at Birmingham Southern].”
BSC women’s basketball coach Mike Ricks said that he was impressed Giles’ maturity and court savvy.
“With her being a point guard, there were some leadership qualities we liked in Anna Beth and how she interacted with her teammates. She has great court vision and she plays hard. Just from getting to know Anna Beth from the recruiting process was the cementing factor for us. There are a lot of good players out there but when you’re able to recruit someone who is both a good player and a good person, it’s a welcome addition to your program.”
Ricks was well aware of the Lady Yellow Jackets’ success over the past several years.
“That’s definitely a factor. Winning is hard, and when you can get a group of people together who have experience in doing that, it can make a difference.”