By Vern Hee
If Beatty High School were to issue a diploma in basketball defense, Christina Thompson, a junior guard from Amargosa Valley, would be the top student and recipient. She is fireball of a player.
At 5’3″ her outside appearances are very deceiving. She is quick to the ball and often leads the team in steals in any given game. She is one of the reasons the Beatty Hornets are in the playoffs.
Head Coach Aimee Senior said Thompson works hard as an athlete to improve.
“She asks what she can do to improve herself, and what she needs to work harder on. She’s the one on the team that is always giving 110 percent all the time, in practice and during games.”
Thomas Wehlan, teacher of anatomy and big Beatty fan, said Thompson works hard in everything she does. “She takes her academics as seriously as she does her athletics.
She is a solid A student and probably the most fit athlete on the girl’s basketball team,” he said.
For Beatty, Thompson’s skills lay in defense. Her quick feet often fool the offense. In the recent playoff game against the Lund Mustangs, Thompson helped herself to five steals in the game and seven rebounds.
On the court, she waits and often comes from behind and just takes the ball away from the unsuspecting player, or she intercepts the pass.
Thompson’s speed fits right into Senior’s aggressive style of play. Senior relies on her defense to add the points.
When you are on a Senior team you must be tough and be in shape to stay in the game for three quarters. The coach likes to play her core starters the whole game. Thompson is one of those starters who blossomed this year as a junior.
Thompson’s role on the team is to play hard defense, steal the ball and feed it to the two leading scorers, Melynda Gross and Lucero Hernandez.
Senior said in addition to her skills on the court, Thompson is a leader.
“She a great motivator, and always encourages everyone on the team, whether it’s a first year high school player or the upperclassmen on the team. I enjoy Christina being on the team.”
This tough Amargosa player is the daughter of a gold miner.
Thompson has a twin sister, Sarah, who runs track and plays volleyball. The two play on the same volleyball team and also run track together.
“My sister didn’t really get into sports until her sophomore year. It is a good way for her to be more open because she’s really shy,” said Christina.
Christina said she and her sister are very different, despite being fraternal twins. Christina took a heavier sports path in middle school, and her sister is more of an academic. Sarah just might be the valedictorian next year at Beatty.
Christina said she started playing basketball in sixth grade because she said she wanted to try something new.
“Honestly I wanted to try something different, because in middle school I was too shy. I wanted to be more open with people and try out new things to overcome my fear. My fifth grade year I decided to join basketball and softball,” she said.
Off the court she seems timid, but athletic competition brings the beast out of her.
“I will be honest, I tend to be very aggressive when I play sports. I am not afraid to knock people down if I have to. So the man comes out in me, but I can be both. Defense is my favorite,” said Christina.
During her last game, she was always in another player’s face.
This spring Beatty will field a strong track team where Christina runs in the 400-meter, the 800-meter and competes in the long jump, triple jump and the pole vault.
Her toughness definitely comes from her family. Her mother passed away when she was around 8. As a young girl, her brother John was a big role model for her.
“John was the biggest influence on my life as far as sports. He played football and eventually went into the army. When I watched my brother at his games, I told my him that I wanted to be as athletic as he. When he joined the army he would come home from leave and he would make us do some of his army workouts. This inspired me to become in shape and be healthier,” said Christina.
Christina wants to attend Arizona State after she graduates next year and become a veterinarian.
Bruce Moen, a Beatty teacher, feels she is college material.
“Christina has not only proven that she is a good student, Christina has maintained her high average while keeping very busy with activities,” said Moen.