Following a two-year stint at Brownwood High in which she was named Newcomer of the Year as a junior and the District 7-4A Co-MVP as a senior, Lady Lion Matyha Thompson on Wednesday signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Hill College.
Basketball didn't appear to be in Thompson's plans after high school until she was approached by Hill College head coach Scott Hyland.
“He saw me play and after we talked I thought it was a perfect match,” Thompson said. “Their basketball program is amazing, the coach is a good guy, a good coach, and I really liked the girls and that area.
“It's a little school, not really that big, but it's something I can call home.”
Hill College has compiled 19 or more wins in each of the last four seasons as the Lady Rebels are the fourth winningest program in Region V, arguably the best region in the nation for women’s junior college basketball, and the second-winningest team in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference.
Hill is 20-10 overall this season, 10-6 in conference, and begins play in the Region V tournament in Abilene Thursday against Odessa College.
As senior at Brownwood, Thompson converted 48 percent of her field goals and tallied 599 points in 32 games — an average of 18.7 per contest — along with 5.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals per outing. Her 18.7 points per game ranked second among all Region I-4A girls, according to Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz.
During her junior year, Thompson produced 11.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.
“It was a lot of hard work,” Thompson said. “I stepped up and tried to be a leader and tried doing everything I possibly could for us to be successful.”
Hohertz said of Thompson, “She's a special player and special talent. With all she accomplished last year she wanted to become even better this year. She averaged almost 20 points a game which is a tribute to her and the work she put in. She is very coachable and always did what I asked. I'm going to miss her not only as a player but as a person who was always there to put a smile my face during a rough day.”
Brownwood athletic director Sammy Burnett was also on hand at the signing ceremony at Warren Gym and echoed similar sentiments.
“She was a trainer in football and always had a great personality, was always bubbly and was always willing to serve,” Burnett said. “I really cherish that time we had together, she made me smile and made sure I had water. With that relationship from football I felt closer to her watching her play basketball, and she was phenomenal.”
Thompson, who thanked her coaches, teammates and parents during the ceremony, said she intends to study nursing while at Hill College.