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|Big rebound for basketball team as new coach hits the court|
|Written by Sam Grossman|
|Thursday, 16 February 2012 22:05|
David Thursby may be in just his third year as the head coach of the Tombstone High School basketball team, but his impact is noticeable, as his team has improved each year with him at the helm.
The Tombstone High School basketball team’s season was successful, finishing the regular season with a 20-8 record and making it to the Arizona Division III state tournament.
Despite the Yellow Jackets loss to Empire, they have had a season most teams would be satisfied with, especially a team that has come such a long way in just three years.
Thursby took over the team in 2009, finishing with a record of 2-16, a season some would call a learning experience, but others would want to clear from their mind completely.
This was followed up by a 9-9 season that resulted in a trip to the state tournament, but a quick exit after losing in the first round to St. Johns High School. This was the first time in the previous five years the team qualified for state. After a successful season last year, Thursby and his team were poised to continue the upward trend of increasing the number of wins each season, and getting farther in the state tournament.
The Yellow Jackets achieved their goal of winning more games than last year, reaching the 20 win plateau, but whether or not they get further in the state tournament has yet to be decided.
Thursby says there are numerous reasons for the sudden turnaround of the basketball program. One is the players on the team.
“I have a group of committed kids,” said Thursby.
Thursby also gives a lot of credit to his brother-in-law Steve Lane who he brought on this year to be his assistant coach. Lane was a college basketball coach for 20 years; most recently he was the head women’s basketball coach at Cochise College.
While the basketball program has greatly improved over the years, Thursby still faces challenges that coaches of other high schools don’t. The students who attend Tombstone High School come from a variety of different places, which makes it hard to practice as a team in the offseason.
“How do you get kids from other locations to come and practice in the offseason?” asked Thursby. This presents problems not only as far as the conditioning of the team, but also team chemistry, as not many of the players are in close proximity to each other.
Another unique thing regarding the basketball team is they don’t cut anyone who tries out. This is very unusual for a sport that allows 12 students on a team, but then again, only 35 try out for the basketball team. “We make the kids that don’t make the team, team managers,” said Thursby. “We try to include every kid.”
According to Thursby, while no players are cut from the team by the coaches, there are some who cut themselves due to a variety of reasons, including too much conditioning, or the time commitment required to be on a high school athletic team.
One player who did not cut himself, far from it, is senior Orlando Galvez. Galvez is a three-year varsity player, and led the team in scoring this past year, averaging 15.4 points per game. He gives Thursby a lot of the credit for the turnaround of the program. “He came here and changed the whole program,” said Galvez.
Galvez, like Thursby, was quick to point out what an impact Lane has had as well. “Steve Lane has helped us big time this year,” said Galvez. “He worked with us on our shot and our defense.”
Galvez said that freshman year he was really looking to improve, and when he looks back he realizes how much he really did.
The Yellow Jacket’s leading scorer had high expectations heading into this season. “I wanted to make it to state again and we did,” said Galvez. “I promised my brother we would make it to state again this year.”
Galvez and his brother played together for two years, and Galvez admits he misses the experience of playing with him. “I trusted my brother last year,” said Galvez. “I miss that chemistry.”
Galvez said after having such a successful season, he feels “accomplished.” “It makes you want to continue to work hard,” said Galvez.”
Galvez and the Yellow Jackets were scheduled to play at Globe High School Tuesday night in the first round of the Division III state tournament, but due to bad weather the game was postponed to Wednesday night.