May 23, 2013

For Thomas, books come before hoops

Brooke Thomas turned down athletic scholarship offers from NCAA Division I and Division II basketball programs because she wanted her college decision to be based primarily on education.

And that’s why the Dalton High School standout is going to Alabama’s Birmingham-Southern College.

Thomas celebrated her decision to attend Birmingham-Southern and play basketball for the Lady Panthers during a party with friends and family Wednesday at Dalton High. She received a full academic scholarship from the school, which cannot offer athletic scholarships as a Division III member of the NCAA.

The academic scholarship was enough for Thomas, who also received athletic offers from Division I programs Winthrop University (Rock Hill, S.C.) and Nashville’s Tennessee State University as well as from Division II schools Wingate (N.C.) University and Newberry (S.C.) College.

“Everyone was just as aggressive recruiting me, but in the last couple months I had to narrow it down,” Thomas said.

That involved “taking basketball out of the picture” to make her decision.

“I know going to Birmingham-Southern that as soon as I leave college, I can get an internship (right away),” she added, noting she plans to study business. “It might be less competitive than the Division I or Division II schools, but I know I’ll get a great degree from there.”

Before visiting Birmingham-Southern’s campus three months ago, Thomas was heavily considering Oglethorpe University, a Division III school in Atlanta. But her visit to Alabama changed everything.

“I guess it’s always the first impression,” Thomas said. “Everyone was friendly and they want me to succeed. The classrooms aren’t as big, so whenever I need a professor there is always help.”

Thomas was the Lady Catamounts’ starting point guard the past two seasons after serving as a substitute during her sophomore season, the year the Lady Cats reached the Class 3A state championship game. During the 2011-2012 season, Dalton won its sub-region but came a win shy of reaching the Class 3A state tournament. This past season, Thomas helped direct the Lady Cats to the Class 4A state tournament and earned honorable mention on The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Girls Basketball Team.

“Brooke’s strength is obviously her offensive skills,” Lady Cats coach Jeff McKinney said. “She can shoot the ball and has a very good talent of attacking the goal from 10-15 feet and taking it all the way to the goal.”

Thomas suffered a broken ankle during the summer between her junior and senior seasons, but didn’t let it keep her from contributing.

“When we started practicing, I’m not sure she was 100 percent at that time,” McKinney said. “But she wouldn’t sit out. She just wanted to play. That shows her character.

“She’s a great kid, a great student and has played basketball her entire life. She just enjoys playing.”

Thomas expects to compete right away for a contributing role at Birmingham-Southern, which finished 12-14 last season and will be in its first season under head coach Rena Holden, who was the top assistant the past eight years. The Lady Panthers compete in the Southern Athletic Association.

As Dalton’s point guard, Thomas averaged 12 points and two assists per game as a senior, and most of the offensive possessions started with the ball in Thomas’ hands and her giving orders.

“In order to win, I have to be in that role,” she said. “I have to direct and lead and worry about getting other people involved, even though you get the spotlight and if you lose, you may get the blame.”

Text Only
  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo