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ACC inks Wayland’s Thurston to women’s hoops team

ACC inks Wayland's Thurston to women’s hoops team

News Photo by James Andersen Wayland Union alum Briana Thurston, seated middle, signed her letter of intent to join the Alpena Community College women’s basketball team on Tuesday. Pictured with Thurston left to right are ACC athletic director Cindy DeRocher, Kelly Thurston, David Thurston and ACC women’s basketball coach Bobby Allen.

When Alpena Community College women’s basketball coach Bobby Allen recruits, he looks for versatile players who can communicate well and lead by example on the court.

Briana Thurston is one player who checks all of those boxes.

Thurston, a Wayland Union High alum, became the newest Lumberjack on Tuesday, signing her letter of intent in front of Allen and her parents at ACC’s Besser Technical Center.

Allen, who drove more than four hours from Alpena to Wayland last season to watch Thurston play, said he’s getting a player with plenty of heart who knows basketball well.

“I envision her stepping in (and contributing) right away. She talks…like she knows the game of basketball. I’ve seen her play and it was outstanding how she gets her teammates to be successful,” Allen said. “So I think having her here, it’s not the size or the height, she has the heart just like the kind of girls I want here.”

News Photo by James Andersen Briana Thurston signs her letter to play basketball at Alpena Community College on Tuesday as her parents Kelly and David look on.

By joining the Lumberjacks, Thurston follows in the footsteps of her aunt Kris, who played in ACC’s front court from 1988-90 under coaches Roger Phillips and Terry Harbson.

Thurston plans to study kineselogy and exercise science with plans to be an athletic trainer.

As a team captain for Wayland last season, Thurston helped the Wildcats to a 14-9 record. Wayland advanced to a Class B district final before losing to Grand Rapids South Christian.

Thurston played all over the court for the Wildcats last season, but figures to fit into Alpena’s lineup as a forward. Alpena graduated several front court players from last season including Abby Larsen, Dakota Prevo and Kyra Feighner.

Nonetheless Thurston, who received Wayland’s Coaches Award last season, should be able to do a little bit of everything for the Lumberjacks as she adjusts to the level of competition. She routinely blocked shots in Wayland’s front court, but also showed a knack for knocking down three-pointers.

“She does the things that I need (my players to do). She talks. She puts them in spots to be where they should be without any attitude whatsoever; (she’s) just a strong voice,” Allen said. “We’re getting a talented person; not only a good basketball player, but a very good person in the community.”

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