THS’s Cooper, Argent work well together, earn top honors
Thorsby’s girls basketball team was close and successful.
So, either new coach Ab Argent’s loud and demonstrative style would either inspire the Rebels to new heights, or the players and coach wouldn’t mesh.
“When he first started, I thought, this is going to be…wow,” said Sharonda Cooper, Thorsby’s star sophomore point guard. “He did a lot of yelling and stuff. We weren’t used to it.”
Argent, you see, had coached boys sports at the high school level for 13 years but had never coached girls.
The season was undoubtedly a success, with Thorsby compiling a 21-2 record, going a perfect 8-0 in area play—and Cooper and Argent being named The Clanton Advertiser’s girls basketball player of the year and coach of the year.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I told them, ‘I grew up with a mom and three older sisters and now I have a wife and two daughters, so if anybody is qualified for this job…,’” Argent said.
Cooper was her team’s primary ball handler and best defender and averaged 18 points and six rebounds a game—even more remarkable considering she still has two years left in the program.
“Sharonda is a special player,” Argent said. “There were things she would do, and you would just shake your head.”
Cooper honed her skills as a youngster by playing lots of basketball with relatives.
“Everybody in my family played,” Cooper said. “Since I’ve been growing up, I’ve been playing against all boys.”
Cooper received plenty of help from senior guard Ashlin Hilyer, sophomore forward Amanda Hubbard, a longtime friend, and many others.
But the season wasn’t perfect. After an 11-0 start, Thorsby suffered its first loss, on Jan. 16 to Maplesville, in the championship game of the Chilton County Basketball Tournament.
Again, the team was at a crossroads.
“It was probably good for us,” Argent said. “It allowed us in the middle of the year to stop and refocus.”
Thorsby won two crucial area games the next week, and the next loss, to Ohatchee in a sub-regional playoff game, ended Thorsby’s season.
“I hope they learned a little, and I fell like I learned a lot of lessons, too, especially patience,” Argent said. “They did everything I asked, and I know I’m not the easiest person to play for.”
All-area team named
All-Area Team selections are based on coaches’ nominations, season statistics and overall team success.
The first team is:
Sharonda Cooper, Thorsby, sophomore, guard
Marqueska Deramus, Verbena, sophomore, forward
Summer Hall, Chilton Christian, senior, guard
Amanda Hubbard, Thorsby, sophomore, forward
Kortisha Morrow, Maplesville, sophomore, guard
The honorable mention list includes:
Ebony Childers, Maplesville, sophomore, forward
Lori Davis, Billingsley, sophomore, guard
Ashlin Hilyer, Thorsby, senior, guard
Renee Lewis, Chilton Co., junior, forward
Kimberly Littleton, Isabella, senior, forward
Shelby Lopez, Jemison, sophomore, guard
Kelsie Mims, Jemison, junior, guard
Katika Nunn, Jemison, junior, forward
Imma Sanders, Verbena, senior, forward
Viola Tyus, Billingsley, senior, guard