Lady Tigers Host Chattahoochee Tuesday Night In Home Opener
Stick a fork in the preseason. It’s done.
Troup High basketball is back, and the Lady Tigers promise to be a much improved team over last winter’s squad. The Troup High girls are still trying to forget that trying season of a year ago, which ended with a 719 record.
That’s the past, and the Lady Tigers are ready to open up a new chapter for Troup High basketball. The Lady Tigers will play their first home game on Tuesday night against Chattahoochee County. The varsity girls game will tip off at 6 p.m.
Coach Carla Thornton’s comeback kids are ready to run, jump, block out and win. They are the Lady Tigers. Something is different about this team.
“Our chemistry is great. We’re so excited.We’re coming together, and we’re very quick. We’ve been working on defense,” said Akhya Mitchell, Troup High’s 5foot-3 junior guard.
The Lady Tigers do have some players with happy hands. They can and will steal the ball with Mitchell, junior guard Kwa Spence, sophomore ShaQoya Gilbert and the 5-foot-7 Aundracia Riggins. Some more speed is readily available with Troup High sophomore guard Kiya Fulton and the 5-foot-7 Keya Sands.
This is a Lady Tiger team that will run the floor. Troup High will snatch-and-go with the fastbreak. The Lady Tigers are built for the uptempo game. They also have some jump shooters with Christy Allen, Julee Edwards and Jedda Madden. Edwards is a freshman, and Allen and Madden are sophomores.
Troup High has some youth with basketball skills. The Lady Tigers also have a good mixture of new and old. They have some seasoned players, too, like seniors Gabby Lockhart and Christiana Madden. Lockhart and Madden are quick enough and tall enough to play either forward or guard. And they will play both positions for the Lady Tigers this season.
Madden and Lockhart are both 5-foot-7. They eat, sleep and think basketball.
According to Madden, “Basketball is my life. I’m always trying to get better. I have good court vision, and I need to be a leader.”
Thornton thinks she will be. The coach has a lot of choices for potential starters.
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Thornton is constantly talking about competition. There’s a lot of that on the Troup High girls basketball team. The girls are friends, but they are also competitive. And that is what could turn the Lady Tigers from a 7-19 team into a winner.
And the Lady Tigers do believe they’re going to rock the basketball world this winter.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re a 10. We could win all of our games,” said Lockhart.
The Lady Tigers do have four returning starters with Mitchell, Gilbert, Lockhart and Christiana Madden. Spence has logged some serious minutes for the Lady Tigers in the past as well. As for the future, Allen, Sands and Fulton might also start some games for the Lady Tigers this year.
Thornton has some talented girls to work with this season at Troup High School, including 5-foot-9 junior Cortney Alexander. She is versatile, as so many of the Lady Tigers are. Alexander has good hands for shooting, rebounding and passing. The Lady Tigers are team-oriented.
“We’re ready. We’re confident, and we have some high energy. We’re jelling. Everybody on our team can score,” saidThornton. “We’re going to crash the boards hard.”
The plan is to get the Lady Tigers back into a contending status for region honors and more.
“We’re going to try to make it to state (in Class AAAA). I like our hustle,” said Thornton.
Her players wouldn’t want to play for any other coach.
“Coach Thornton is like our second mom,” said Mitchell.
Carla Thornton, the former Bethune-Cookman College guard (Daytona Beach, Fla.), is a player’s coach. She is fun. She is smart, and she knows her basketball from cover-to-cover. That’s Carla Thornton.
Lockhart enjoys every second on the court with Thornton.
“She motivates us. She wants us to get better. Coach Thornton knows how to coach, and she is always positive,” said Lockhart.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer