LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Hilltopper girls are at the top of the district and region, led by first-year head coach and Brookville alum Anitra Thomas.
“These girls, they want to be in the gym 24/7,” Thomas said. “They don’t want to take days off of practice, they don’t want to take Saturday’s off. They’re like, ‘Coach can we get in and at least shoot?’ Their work ethic is very crazy.”
Thomas is a recent grad of Christopher Newport, where she played basketball. There’s no question her high energy and youthful spirit have sparked the Hilltoppers.
“I think for me, being young and playing college basketball only two years ago, they definitely can relate to me more. We have a connection, we have a bond. We get hype, I can get hype off the same things they get hype off of,” she said.
On the boy’s side, D.J. Best succeeded Roy Roberson two years ago, who was the architect of Glass’s winning ways. Best is now carrying on the tradition.
“One of the things coach Roy, who was previously here, would always talk about, next man up mentality,” Best said. “So we’ve got to prepare everybody who is in the gym to be prepared to be in the gym.”
But at Glass, two heads are better than one, which is why you will see both coaches frequenting each other’s practices often.
“D.J. is probably like my brother, I call him my brother honestly,” Thomas said. “We text each other after every game and we’re like, ‘Coach, what would you have done in this position? What can we do differently?'”
“We’re pretty close to family now, you spend so many hours in the gym you don’t have anything left,” Best added. “It’s good for the program, it’s good for the kids because we both show face, we both understand the game, we both love the game.”
Opponents of E.C. Glass will soon realize they’re facing the best of both Hilltopper worlds.