Greenbrier girls basketball captain KaRa Thompson has had to spend some extra time on the bench recently, fighting her way through illness.
That might prove beneficial in the long run.
The Lady Wolfpack senior, who has been playing basketball since first grade and competitively since the eighth grade, is hoping to stay with the sport after her school days are over as a coach.
“That’s my goal in life, that’s my passion to be a coach,” said Thompson.
So when Thompson was in street clothes for the Lady Wolfpack’s game against Harlem in early December, she sat next to head coach Stefanie Basinger and provided input to her and the other players.
“I knew I still had a role on the team for the rest of the girls, to be there for them,” Thompson said. “When I’m on the court I have to be the floor pilot and when I’m off I feel I still have that responsibility. So, I’ve still got to help out.”
That assistance takes some stress off Basinger.
“I love having her next to me,” said Basinger. “I’ll get mad because of their movement patterns or they’re not moving. She can help me understand what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling on the court. It helps me make adjustments because she understands their mindset a whole lot more.”
To get to where Thompson is now, a three-year starter, has taken hard work.
“In eighth grade she couldn’t even shoot the ball,” said Basinger, who was her middle school coach. “She’s one of the best shooters out there now that she’s put a lot of work into it. She’s very, very coachable. She was a good athlete but she really didn’t know much about the game at all.”
That learning process is one of the things that Thompson likes best about the game.
“If you work hard, results will show up,” Thompson said. “You can never give up because if you give up you will never be doing as good as you could be doing. It’s so attractive because you can always get better. There’s no peak. It’s like an unsolvable puzzle.”
For her senior project, Thompson thought about coaching basketball, but since she had done that in 10th grade she decided to go another route.
“I learned how to belly dance for my senior project,” said Thompson, who took classes at the Y on Wheeler Road. “Totally off the wall. I’m a culture kind of person, so I learned how to do Middle Eastern type of dancing.”
Of course. there was a purpose behind it.
“To me it’s just really interesting because I love cultures,” she said. “I’ve taken French and Spanish in high school and I want to get into intercultural studies. It’s just really cool to me.”