Red Devil will fly with the fleet
Erskine gets a sharp-shooter in Red Devil Campbell
For a young woman who didn’t want to move here, Savanna Campbell has made the most of Clinton. She will graduate Clinton High School with an Erskine College scholarship in hand, and if the shots fall like she wants, her basketball team will play at The Well.
Campbell is a senior leader on the Clinton High varsity girls basketball team that is 9-0, but faces its biggest challenge to date Jan. 4 traveling to also-ranked Union County. Campbell thinks she and her teammates have what it takes to play at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, in the AAA Upper State Final, but with a reservation.
“One game at a time,” she said, after signing a National Letter of Intent to play for the Flying Fleet in Due West, neighboring Abbeville County.
“We love you. We are proud of you,” her head coach John Gardner told Campbell, in a CHS auditorium filled with her schoolmates.
The first time he saw her shoot a basketball, after she moved here from Atlanta, Gardner said, “I told the other coaches, ‘She has to play.’”
“Me and coach have been stuck together,” Campbell said. “I want to thank my teammates. Without you, we wouldn’t be 8-0 (and 9-0 after last Wednesday’s win at Ninety Six). I want to thank my parents, I put you through a lot of stuff.”
Campbell admits she did not want to move to a small town. “My parents said, ‘One day you’ll thank me.’
“Thank you, for moving me here to Clinton.”
Now, she will play collegiately in a town even smaller.
That suits Campbell fine - she doesn’t want to go back to the city (her family moved here from Woodstock, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb).
She took at look at Newberry College, Gardner-Webb, and Richmond, Virginia. “Our team this year has really close connections. I thought Erskine would be a good fit,” she said.
Campbell said she continues to work on her shot, and always has had “pretty good” defense - she’s concentrating on “getting down and dirty in the post and the paint” on defense.
Clinton’s girls basketball success this season is because “we are blessed with a good range of players, players who can shoot, and players who can play the wing and the post. We’ve had good shooters but we have not always had good connections. (This season) everybody knows everybody, everybody likes everybody. There’s no drama.
“(Also) our wide range of players. If my shot’s on one night, I provide for the team. But if it’s not on one night, we can look to some other players, to take place of the points I’m not getting. It’s nice we can bounce off each other.”
Even though reporters at her signing news conference wanted her to, Campbell would not project ahead in the season. “It would be nice to go to a championship. In the past, we have gone to the first round and fall fall short. We really do have a good team, but we should not look that far ahead.” The last time the Clinton girls played at The Well was 2012; the Clinton boys played there in 2017.
Campbell is going to get to college, then decide where life takes her from here. She is interested in psychology, sports medicine, and animals - “maybe, a vet - I will figure out what I’m going to do.”
And, basketball will give her four more years to do that.