A familiar face led the Denton Lady Broncos to a tournament-opening win over the Oklahoma Red Cardinals Friday night in the Denton Summer Shootout.
Former Denton boys coach Henry Thomas, who now coaches the Lewisville High School boys, is coaching the Lady Broncos, so he can get a rare chance to watch his daughter Tra Thomas in action. The Lady Broncos responded well to his guidance, rolling to a 47-38 victory over the Cardinals at Billy Ryan Gym.
“I don't get many chances to see her play during the school year, so it's great to get to coach her during the summer time,” coach Thomas said of his daughter.
Tra Thomas didn't disappoint her dad, leading Denton with 14 points; even though, she started the game 0-for-5 from the floor before hitting three-in-a-row.
“I think she was a little cold because it's been a couple of weeks since they last played in the Ryan summer league,” Thomas said. “I told her to drive to the basket, but then she was able to get her shot to start falling.”
The Lady Broncos didn't beat the Cardinals with their offense, however. Denton won the way it usually does — with a suffocating press. The Lady Broncos forced 29 turnovers, with Tra Thomas and guard Brittany Brock each snagging five.
“That was classic Bobby Bates defense,” coach Thomas said of the former Denton coach who left the school for Krum following the season. “That's the way he taught them to play, and they made him proud tonight.”
Cardinals' 6-3 post Katy O'Steen dominated the paint with 20 points and 16 rebounds, but more often than not, the team of girls from Durant, Okla. fumbled the ball away before feeding it to the big girl.
Coach Thomas wasn't the only influence from Lewisville in the game. In order to fill out the Lady Broncos' summer vacation-depleted lineup, coach Thomas brought Lewisville girls players Brianna Woodfox and Jessica Papion along with him to play for Denton.
Woodfox provided nine points, four steals and three rebounds, and Papion led Denton on the boards with seven to go along with two points and two steals.
Brock added eight points for Denton, as did forward Cheryl Kniatt who also aided the swarming defense with four steals and three rebounds.
Denton Lady Broncos 47, Oklahoma Red Cardinals 38
ORC 14 24 — 38
DLB 21 26 — 47
Oklahoma Red Cardinals – Katy O'Steen 20, Regan Browne 7, Kenna Chaffin 5, Jessica Birdsong 4, Lauren Hughes 2.
Denton Lady Broncos – Tra Thomas 14, Brianna Woodfox 9, Cheryl Kniatt 8, Brittany Brock 8, Anny Tseng 4, Kylie Kelsoe 2, Jessica Papion 2.