It’s been a challenging few years for the Troup High girls’ basketball program.
After winning a region championship and making it to the state quarterfinals in 2012, the Lady Tigers have managed just a handful of wins the past two seasons, and they haven’t made it to the state tournament.
Head coach Carla Thornton, who was there for the good times in 2012, and the difficult times the past two seasons, is hoping the team will turn the corner this coming season.
The team is in the midst of its summer program, and that includes workouts at the school, and games against teams from opposing schools.
“We’re going to Manchester to play today. We have a couple of other play dates we’ll be going on,” Thornton said on Tuesday at the close of that day’s session of the Troup High basketball camp. “We have one with LaGrange. We have one with Newnan.”
Thornton said the summer is a nice time to mix the returning players in with the newcomers, and Troup will have a large freshmen class next season.
“We’re still going to be very young. I have six freshmen coming in,” Thornton said. “They’re going to play.”
Last season, Thornton had to rely mostly on freshmen and sophomores to lead the way.
During a difficult season, there were some bright spots.
Sophomore D’Aushanique Sanders proved to be an explosive player at times and had 19 points in a region-tournament loss to Alexander, and freshman Kwyneshia Spence made huge strides as the season went along.
At one point during the season, Thornton said “we pretty much have a JV team. We have three freshmen, a sophomore and one junior.”
Despite that, the Lady Tigers had chances to win more games during the season, but they had a hard time finishing things off.
“We’d be in ballgames, but we didn’t know how to close out a game,” Thornton said. “We didn’t know how to set the tempo. Like Callaway, we were up over 10 points on Callaway, and we were up big on LaGrange here. But we didn’t know how to hold the lead. I think that’s something we’ll learn how to do.”
Thornton has told the players to aim high.
She remembers the good feeling of winning a region title, and believes this group is capable of repeating that feat at some point.
“We want to get another number,” Thornton said, referring to banner in the gym listing all of the program’s region titles. “That’s what we’re telling them.”