By Chris McCarthy
Haley Troup and Brooke Burns shared the hardwood floor one last time on March 17.
The Gadsden City High seniors participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star girls’ basketball game at Alabama State University in Montgomery.
Troup, who recently was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 7A All-State first team, finished with eight points, five rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes. Burns, who made the All-State second team, had four points and four rebounds in nine minutes. Mississippi outscored Alabama 47-36 in the second half to post a 93-86 victory. Joining Troup and Burns on the Alabama roster were Sipsey Valley’s Queen Ford, Tanner’s Kirsten Brown, Wenonah’s Alexus Dye, Sparkman’s Terri Smith, Faith Academy’s Unique Thompson, Brewbaker Tech’s Bianca Jackson, Red Bay’s Allie Kennedy, Ramsay’s Courtney Lee, Wenonah’s Jayla Morrow and Deshler’s Nicole Shirley. Thompson was named Alabama MVP.
A 5-10 guard/forward, Troup averaged 19.4 points, 4.0 assists and 7.6 rebounds in 28 games this past season while shooting 84 percent from the free throw line. She also made 38 three-point baskets. Troup finished her high school career with 2,284 points, 1,235 rebounds and 842 assists. A 5-10 guard, Burns averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 29 games. She shot 85 percent from the foul line and knocked down 39 three-point baskets. She ended her prep career with 1,877 points.
Both Troup and Burns will continue their basketball careers this fall, Troup with the University of South Carolina and Burns with Tennessee-Chattanooga.
“It was a fun experience to play with some of the best girls in Alabama and against some of the best girls in Mississippi,” said Troup. “It seemed more like a college game with the pace of it, and it was fun to go up against players of that caliber. [Mississippi] was really athletic and guard heavy, so it was tough competition.”
Troup won’t have much time to celebrate with her fellow GCHS graduates, as will report to South Carolina on May 31. Besides basketball-related activities, she will attend freshman orientation and may take a summer class or two.
Troup spoke fondly of her backcourt partner of several years, with whom she has shared countless hours on and off the court.
“Me and Brooke have played together forever, so we’re familiar with each other’s moves and we can pretty much read each other in any situation. I’m really going to miss her being on the floor with me, and was great to have one last opportunity to play with her.”
Troup and Burns helped the 2016-17 Lady Titans go 24-5, finish the regular season as the fifth-ranked team in Class 7A, win the area tournament and qualify for the Northeast Regional Tournament. Both girls played in the AHSAA North/South All-Star basketball game last year.
“To be two of 12 seniors picked to play in the game is a high honor for Haley and Brooke,” said GCHS girls basketball coach Jeremy Brooks. “For them to play in that game is a good way to go out after playing together for so long. I wish they could have experienced [the AHSAA state basketball tournament in] Birmingham, but that was about the only thing they didn’t accomplish in a great career.”
Brooks acknowledged that having Troup and Burns in the starting backcourt for the past four seasons was an ideal situation.
“It was great to have Haley and Brooke for so long, but we’re already thinking and planning about replacing them for next year,” he said. “It will be a different situation but it’s going to be exciting, too. It will be a good challenge for us.”