HOMETOWN HOOPS: E.C. Glass girls tops in Seminole after sweeping district schedule

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Ask anyone at E.C. Glass and they'll tell you, things have changed in the Hill City.

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"It's just something different for E.C. Glass girls basketball," said sophomore Jordyn Wright-Goode.

"We've been working really hard since last year trying to change the culture here at E.C. Glass," added senior Mya Hamlet.

And with the Hilltoppers' win over Brookville last week, the Glass girls clinched the top seed in the Seminole District for the first time in a decade.

It was a victory that embodied the turnaround sparked by first-year head coach Anitra Thomas, who was a star player for the Bees just six years ago.

"It's a different school, but I got the same mentality," Thomas said. "When I was at Brookville, we were in the Seminole District and we went to regions and we went to states. So that's the mentality I'm trying to bring over here and that's the culture I'm trying to build."

The Hilltoppers finished 14-0 in Seminole District play, with a coach who's not all that far removed from being in their shoes.

"We can listen to music on Saturday practices and they're like, 'Coach, you know this?' and I'm like, 'Yeah,'" Thomas said. "We all bond on the same type of level."

"To have someone that's our age and can relate to us, I think it's a really big help," Hamlet said. "But she definitely brought intensity. We run so much at practice. Like, she's hardcore."

Thomas admits structure and discipline have played a big role in the turnaround at Glass.

And as for those hardcore practices? Turns out her players are fully on board.

"This group just has a crazy insane work ethic," Thomas said. "They don't want days off. They want to be in the gym every day. They want to get after it. So that's what makes it a lot easier for my job, as a coach, to push them because they're pushing each other."

After years of finishing near the bottom of the district, the Glass girls are now the top dogs, and they're ready to turn what's been a nice story so far into a season they'll never forget.

"We set goals at the beginning of the year and so, obviously, for them, something that hadn't been done in a while is to win a region championship and, hopefully, to go to states," Thomas said. "Whether that happens or not, I think the success that we've done so far here this season has been a great accomplishment for the school and for the program."

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