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Lady Blue Devils' Thompson looks back on exceptional junior year

Kevin Mays • May 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM

GATE CITY — Sarah Thompson is a three-sport star at Gate City.

As a junior, Thompson has already surpassed the 1,000-point scoring mark and is already getting looks from NCAA Division I programs, including East Tennessee State and Radford.

She was honored as the Times News Southwest Virginia, VHSL Class 2, Region 2D and Mountain 7 District player of the year after averaging 16.8 points, 6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.4 steals per game this past season in leading the Lady Blue Devils to the state championship.

Thompson is also a key softball and volleyball player for Gate City, making the All-Mountain 7 team and earning second-team honors on the All-Region 2D volleyball squad.

However, she didn’t get to enjoy her junior softball season because the COVID-19 pandemic forced the shutdown of spring sports across Virginia.

Recently, Thompson took some time out to answer some questions about winning a state championship, the loss of the spring sports season and her future.

Being a state champion has to be a great feeling. Talk about basketball season and winning the state crown.

I think we had a great season. Winning the state championship is an unbelievable feeling and experience. During the season, we played some tough teams out of conference and as everyone knows teams in the Mountain 7 are always tough. I think that really helped us in the state tournament. We had to play hard every night. We had some injuries during the season but we were able to get healthy by tournament time. Coach (Kelly) Houseright and the assistant coaches had us prepared to play.

Almost immediately after winning the state crown, things started to change with reaction to COVID-19. The team didn't really have a chance to celebrate. How did that affect you guys?

It was crazy. We were able to have a small celebration when we got home to the gym. We had a police escort starting outside of Kingsport to Gate City. I really want to thank everyone involved with that. It was unbelievable. All of us have been able to keep in touch during the pandemic so that helps. We are fortunate to live in a community that supports us. I wish we could have celebrated with the school and community at the time, but we will when we can.

The pandemic shut down spring sports season and eliminated your junior softball season. How rough has it been this spring with not playing competitive sports?

I have really missed not playing softball and being with my coaches and teammates. We all understand why, but it is still upsetting. Especially for the seniors.

The coronavirus pandemic also has had an effect on offseason training for the fall season and volleyball. Have you been able to do conditioning for the upcoming season during this time?

The coaches have sent a workout for everyone to do. I try to work out the best I can every day. It’s not the same as working out at school.

Your basketball career has grabbed headlines and the attention of colleges. Heading into your senior year, have you had a chance to narrow down your options for playing at the next level?

I’ve been fortunate to get a couple of offers. I’ve been getting some phone calls from several DI schools, but I haven’t narrowed my decision. I was hoping to take some official visits this spring to see more of the schools and hang out with the players, but I couldn’t because of COVID-19. I’ve been able to develop some great relationships with the coaches over the phone and they seem to understand where I’m at.

What are your goals, personal and team-wise, heading into your senior season with volleyball, basketball and softball?

First, I hope we get to play. The team goal is always play hard and win one game at a time. Execute what we have been taught and improve every day. I want to try to lead by an example and help the younger girls. I remember how hard it was for me. I have personal goals, but I keep them to myself. The main thing is the team.

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