LANDOVER, Md. (DC News Now) — Laila Reynolds has her go-to McDonald’s order down pat.
“I like a 10-piece, fries, chocolate milkshake and some buffalo sauce,” Reynolds said.
In addition to a solidified McDonald’s order and a commitment to play college basketball at the University of Florida, Reynolds, a senior guard and forward at Shabach Christian Academy in Prince George’s County, was recently named to the McDonald’s All-American team.
“I’m happy I got the share the experience with [my team,]” Reynolds told DC News Now. “They’re like sisters to me and they’ve been loving on me through all of this, all of the excitement I have to my name.”
Reynolds is part of an impressive trio on this year’s team from the D.C. area along with Sidwell Friends senior Jadyn Donovan (committed to Duke) and Bullis senior Riley Nelson, who also played at Clarksburg high school (committed to Maryland).
More importantly to Reynolds, she’s a member of a Shabach Christian Academy team that has posted an 18-6 record in its inaugural season.
“Great basketball player, but tremendous human being,” Shabach girls basketball head coach Sam Caldwell said. “So proud of her development just like all of the other young ladies as well.”
With Caldwell coaching from the sidelines and Reynolds holding things down on the court, the Eagles have had a smooth season.
“Laila has never missed a workout and has always made her teammates better,” Caldwell said. “I think because of her attitude and her work ethic, that’s the biggest testament to her and it’s what we stand for. That’s part of our culture. Nobody is going to work harder than us and nobody is going to have more fun than us.”
Caldwell has a long history of success coaching, recently surpassing 400 career wins. He is also the only high school girls basketball coach in the country to win three GEICO national championships.
“We always count it as a blessing to be a part of young person’s journey,” Caldwell told DC News Now. “So we’re certainly hoping that we’re providing some good order and discipline for them. No doubt about it we are no stranger to basketball, but we’re certainly doing our very very best to make sure that we’re keeping our program running in the trajectory to be one of the best in the country.”
Locally, Caldwell has previously coached at Riverdale Baptist and recently New Hope Academy, where he and Reynolds both were the past few years.
“He’s [brought] everything, from believing in every player to having fun with it, to bringing unity to the program,” Reynolds said. “Coach Caldwell likes to win, so I mean, I know it’s way more winning to come. We’re just getting started for real.”
While she won’t be a part of the Shabach team past this season and will make her way down to Gainesville, Florida, Reynolds is excited for the program’s future under Caldwell.
“We’re setting the standard pretty high,” Reynolds said. “We’re bringing national level basketball to Shabach.”
And it’s not just the girls program – in its inaugural season, the Shabach boys basketball team is 20-5.