The Lady Tigers have lost all six games they’ve played this season, but Thornton believes her inexperienced team made significant strides in Saturday’s game, a 44-38 loss to Heard County.
The Lady Tigers (0-6, 0-1 in Region 5-AAAA) didn’t win, but they were in the game the whole way, and they competed hard until the end, which is the main thing Thornton is asking of her team at the moment.
“As long as we improve every single game, I’m as happy as can be,” Thornton said. “As long as my players are getting better, that’s all I want.”
The Lady Tigers are coming off one of the best seasons in school history.
They won a region championship and advanced to the Class AAA quarterfinals where they pushed eventual state-champion Columbia to the limit before losing.
This season figured to be a rebuilding one for Troup, though, because of the key losses to graduation.
Most notably, point guard Tanisha Jackson and post player Shamiya Brooks, who are both now playing college basketball, moved on.
Jessica Gilbert and Tamayah Potts returned as starters, but they’ve both had to take on drastically different roles because of the personnel losses.
Deaushanique Sanders also played some as a freshman last season, but she’s adjusting to an increased workload this season.
“It’s been a learning experience,” Thornton said. “When you think about it, Jessica and Tamayah, they’re the only two that played a lot last year. And that’s a big step, going from the roles they had to the roles they have now.”
Thornton said the veterans have adjusted well, though, and she appreciates the leadership roles they’ve taken on.
“Even my older girls, they’ve taken it upon themselves to become coaches,” she said. “They’re becoming teachers as much as players.”
Thornton said they’ve also helped everyone on the team keep a positive attitude.
“You can’t get down on yourself,” Thornton said. “It can be depressing losing all the time. But you work hard every day. And we have a good spirit every day.”
Thornton said her message to the players isn’t about winning and losing, it’s about making sure to give a complete effort in every game.
“Hey, it doesn’t matter what the score is, from the jump ball to the last horn, give it 100 percent,” Thornton said.
The Lady Tigers have a tough road this week as they seek that elusive first win.
Today, Troup will be on the road against Sandy Creek, which is 8-2 overall and hasn’t played a Region 5-AAAA game yet.
Then on Friday, Troup will visit Carrollton, which is 9-2 overall and also hasn’t played a region game yet.
It’s a tough couple of games, but Thornton said her players will head into them with a positive attitude.
“Anything is possible,” she said. “We’re just playing hard.”
Troup’s boys’ team, meanwhile, is 6-5 overall and 0-1 in region competition after last week’s overtime loss to Alexander.
The Tigers will try to get their first region win of the season tonight against a 5-5 Sandy Creek team.