Williams and Thurman are two of a kind
By the end of their four seasons on the Carson High School varsity girls’ basketball team, it may have been easy to think the teamwork between seniors Alyson Thurman and Pam Williams began the day they put on a Senator uniform.
In reality, it goes back much farther. But as is usually the case with history, especially one as memorable as the one Williams and Thurman forged together with the Senators, the ending is usually a lot clearer than the beginning.
The two recalled that beginning together on Monday, sharing the stories and laughter that usually comes with knowing someone else for a lifetime.
“We’ve played together since sixth grade,” Williams says. “We were on this recreation league basketball team, and that’s where it started.”
At least for basketball.
“We’ve known each other since preschool,” Thurman interjects “That’s where we really know each other. I’ve known Pam since I was about five.”
Little did they know 13 years ago that they would graduate as one of the finer tandems in Carson girls’ basketball history. They played all four of their seasons on the varsity team, and all four of those teams went to the state tournament.
During this year’s zone tourney, Thurman took over the top spot on the Senator scoring list. By the time Carson’s season ended at the state tournament, Thurman had amassed 1,706 points during her career, as much a testament to her sustained success as it was to her offensive abilities.
There was a time this season when Thurman didn’t think she could break the record. She came into the season needing more than 400 points, and on the eve of the zone tournament, she still needed nearly 100.
“I never thought I’d be able to do it,” she says. “I thought there was no way I could jump from fourth to first on the list, and to just be up there was amazing. It was a longshot because of all the points I needed, so I just went out and played my game.”
Perhaps just as fitting, considering her rebounding was the yin to Thurman’s scoring yang, Williams finished her career at No. 2 on the all-time rebounders list. And although there is no record in the books for this one, Williams knows that she had a major role in helping Thurman get her scoring record.
Still, Williams spoke with the most pride about Thurman’s accomplishment.
“I kept telling her, ‘Alyson, you’re going to get it,’ before all the games,” Williams says. “I knew she could do it. It was motivation for her to keep playing hard, and it was good motivation for me to keep giving her the ball.”
Playing together has become easier over the years since the old days, or roughly six years ago. Back then they ruled the courts as part of coach Ron Tamori’s team at Carson Middle School.
Both of them credit Tamori with helping shape their success.
“In the long run, he helped make me a better basketball player,” Thurman says. “He was there for us every day, one guy that you’ll never forget. He explained things in ways you could understand.”
“We was always there for you, even if you had a bad game,” Williams continues. “He made sure you were prepared for the next level too.”
Williams also acknowledged the role her father played in her growth as a basketball player.
“He used to make me practice those left-handed layups,” she said while laughing. “I remember thinking, ‘Why in the world am I doing this?”
Williams won Carson’s team rebounding award for the fourth straight year, while Thurman won the scoring award for the third year in a row.
They were also co-MVPs, a far cry from the days when they weren’t sure if they’d even make the varsity as freshmen.
“(Senator coach Paul) Croghan is a good coach, but he didn’t really know us back then,” Williams said. “Coach Tamori is the one who told Croghan about us, and if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think we would have made varsity.”
Their future is undecided at the moment, as neither have committed to a particular college, let alone a major. One thing is certain though: This is the end of the line for them, but only in terms of playing together.
Thurman says she might like to be a coach someday, because she knows the importance those role models had in her life.
“I was influenced so much by my coaches,” says Thurman, who would like to play collegiate basketball. “They’re not just there for sports, and I think that’s important. They tell you what you need and then they help you get there. It helps student athletes to have someone like that.”
Both of them acknowledge the impact sports has had on their life. Thurman also played volleyball last season, and she was named the Nevada Appeal Carson Country player of the year along with teammate Kaitlin Leck.
Williams was the goalkeeper for Carson’s soccer team last fall, a unit that advanced the the zone title game before losing to Galena. She says she’s done with sports for now, except at the intramural level.
“I don’t know what my life would have been like without sports,” Williams says. “I’ve been playing year-round forever, and it’s helped me.
“I’m going to miss the friendship I had on the court with Alyson. We’ve played together and known each other for so long. But when you go to college, you have to learn to let go.”