About to start for the fourth season on the Mansfield Timberview girls basketball team, Lauryn Thompson is no stranger to putting the burden of leading the team on her shoulders.
But she’s headed into her senior year being told not to be a good leader by her own head coach, Kit Martin.
“I’ve always been a leader, I feel,” Thompson said, “but this year I need to be a different type of leader.
“Coach always told me that we need to go from good to great. And it’s a lot easier when you have that support.”
Martin said she is expecting a lot from Thompson this season.
“She’s a four-year starter with the leadership role now squarely on her shoulders,” Martin said of Thompson. “She’s been an integral part of our success, but hasn’t been the first option on offense until now.”
No doubt, Thompson and the Lady Wolves have skills. Timberview came up two points short of a state title last year.
Thompson, a 6-1 forward/post, has set her sights on averaging a double-double this year, but the real focus is on her improvement as a leader, she said.
“I know how to do it and know how to get it done. We’ve been to state and been to regionals,” Thompson said. “Since last season, I’ve had all-around improvement and I expect to lead the team in every box. But I know how to lead better — now to be a great leader.”
Her abilities — both as a scorer, defender and leader — have been noticed, as she recently committed to play at Virginia Commonwealth University next year.
She said having the commitment to VCU takes some pressure off her but there’s still pressures to contend with.
“There’s still the pressure to take the team as far as we can go, to take it to the next level,” Thompson said.
Pressure also presents itself due to the fact the Lady Wolves haven’t lost a district game since Thompson’s class were freshmen. They’ve lost only 15 times in the last three years and will be going for a third straight district title this season.
Thompson will be leading a junior-heavy roster but assisted in leading the team by fellow senior London Scott.
“The challenge this year will be getting over the pre-district games,” Thompson said. “We know we’ll have up days and down days. We just have to stay together and be as good as we allow ourselves to be.”
Scrimmages started this weekend in Plano and will tip off for real when Timberview returns to take on Plano West on Nov. 3.