Troup standout lends a hand
Published 3:29 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The shoe’s on the other foot this week.
Troup High’s Amber Gilbert is usually the one on the receiving end of coaching, but this week she’s the one wearing the whistle.
Troup head girls’ coach Carla Thornton is holding a youth camp in West Point through Friday, and she has drafted Gilbert to lend a hand.
Gilbert is a rising senior at Troup, and she’s a three-year starter and an all-region player.
Gilbert wasn’t able to be there on Monday, and Thornton said her absence was noted.
“Yesterday the kids were asking for her,” Thornton said. “I had to write her while they were sitting there.”
Gilbert, whose smile was ever-present during Tuesday’s camp session, enjoys the experience.
“It’s very fun, helping them do good things out there with basketball,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert added that “they get real distracted. You’ve got to keep them focused.”
Thornton believes helping out with the camp has been beneficial for Gilbert over the years.
“That’s helped her a lot with her leadership skills,” Thornton said. “You have to learn how to talk to people, and not talk at them. She’s a natural care-giver.”
Gilbert is also an exceptional basketball player.
She stepped into the starting lineup as a freshman, and she helped lead the Lady Tigers to a winning record and a spot in the state tournament.
The Lady Tigers made it back to state during the 2017-2018 season, and they went 17-9 and finished second in Region 5-AAAA last season.
Gilbert has missed some time with injuries over the years, but when she has been on the court she’s been dominant.
Last season, Gilbert averaged close to 17 points per game and was a first-team all-region player.
While the coach-player relationship has had some turbulent moments over the years,
“She’s shown a lot of growth over the years as a teammate over the years,” Thornton said. “When she was a freshman I kicked her out of practice, going into state. I had to bench her. I had to teach her a lesson. Nobody is bigger than the team. You have to work like everybody else. We bump heads every now and then, but we understand each other now. She knows when to leave me alone, and I know when to leave her alone. We have that type of relationship.”