Mandy Spencer simply can’t be serious all the time.
The happy-go-lucky teenager is rarely seen without a broad, penetrating smile across her face and a smart, sarcastic comment at the ready.
The CFCA senior has plenty of reasons to be so joyful, and oddly enough, those reasons stem from the two things she takes more seriously than anything.
Spencer is finishing up her final year at CFCA near the top of her class academically. Athletically, she is leading the way.
The Lancers guard just polished off a stunning five-year career that included becoming the school’s top scorer in history, recording her 2,000th career point and leading the GISA in points last season. Those types of achievements don’t come without accolades, and Spencer now has another to add to her lengthy resume: the 2008-09 All-Middle Georgia Independent Schools girls player of the year.
The path to this point hasn’t been without its bumps. During her time as a five-year starter for CFCA — Spencer was good enough to play varsity basketball in eighth grade — she saw three coaching changes and a position change from post to guard.
But she also saw changes in herself. While seemingly not the shy type, Spencer didn’t begin to break out of her shell until her brothers began to break out of theirs and show their sense of humor.
“Anything he does just makes me laugh,” Spencer said of her brother Michael. “If I see him do something, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that, and it’s going to be funny.’ ... Sean was quiet, and then when he got out of high school, he broke out of his shell, and now he’s like my brother Michael.”
Her personality has been a key part of her success on the court. How that personality translates to the court, however, is anything but funny business.
Spencer plays an intense brand of basketball and often wears her emotions on her sleeve. She admits that it can sometimes be a detriment, citing that speaking to referees can be a harrowing experience when her mouth says one thing and her eyes say another. But her hardcore attitude goes hand-in-hand with her innate ability to find the basket by any means necessary.
“She’s real determined,” CFCA head coach Matt Chambless said. “She’s got great court vision. To look at her, you don’t think that she’s lightning quick or that she’d have the ballhandling skills that she has, but she has the ability to squeeze that ball through double teams.
“We saw a lot of triangle-and-two, box-and-one, and she literally would take the ball one on four or one on five. We have so many clips of her with four or five girls, their attention is drawn to her.”
Both Chambless and Spencer are hoping those clips will draw some more attention from the college level. Spencer has yet to decide where she would like to continue her career, and while it’s late in the recruiting season and most scholarships have already been given away, Chambless is hoping Spencer’s impressive highlight reel will bring along some offers.
Last week, Chambless had just put the finishing touches on a highlight video that he uploaded on the Internet. He has been feverishly sending the link to the video around the college ranks.
“I want to stay close to home because that’s kind of always been my plan,” said Spencer, who has received attention from Mercer, Valdosta State and Georgia Southern, among others. “I don’t want to go far away. I like my house. I like staying at my house and being around everybody, so I don’t really want to go far at all. I’d be willing to go anywhere in the area if I get a scholarship.”