It’s taken less than two years for head coach Alan Thorpe to restore some of the luster to a once mighty Stephenville girls basketball program.
Thorpe, who is in the second season of his second stint atop the Honeybee program, was surprised on Thursday to hear his team has been ranked No. 10 in this week’s Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 4A poll.
The Honeybees are 6-0 entering this weekend’s Cross Timbers Classic. They battle Early at 1 p.m. and Aledo at 5:30 p.m. today and Peaster at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, all at Gandy Gym.
“It’s good for the kids to get the respect they deserve,” Thorpe said of being in the state poll.
But don’t misunderstand that statement, Thorpe isn’t getting carried away with early season rankings.
“It doesn’t really mean much to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but it’s when that final poll comes out that we want to be ranked,” he said. “All it does right now is put a big target on our backs.”
Thorpe says this weekend will be a big test for his team.
“Early has a good team, Aledo will be a lot better than when we saw them last (in the season opener for both clubs) and Peaster is great - they have two players who have already signed with Colorado and they have two starters over six feet tall. There are no weak spots on their team,” Thorpe said.
Thorpe led the Honeybees to the playoffs seven times in eight seasons from 1996-97 through 2003-04, including three regional semifinal appearances. Stephenville was 183-83 during that span and went 19-14 in his first season back last year.
Thorpe credits many people outside the roster and coaching staff with helping the team reach its current level, none more so than his players’ parents.
“We have great kids who do whatever we ask of them and that makes a big difference,” he said. “But we also have a group of parents who have sacrificed a lot taking the kids to tournaments all summer. You can’t reach this level without playing basketball pretty much year round, and without the efforts of our kids’ parents that wouldn’t be possible.”
The Bees teamed up informally over the summer and won the PrimeTime Sports national championship in Dallas.
Now state ranked, they will try to add another title - that of Cross Timbers Classic champions - this weekend.
See girls state polls on Page B2.