Darlington senior Anna Claire Atha helped lead the Lady Tigers to a victory over Cane Bay High School on Dec. 29, scoring 25 points in the final game of the Carolina Invitational basketball tournament. This game put her at 1,791 career points, surpassing the 1,774 points by Terar Stewart (’13) and earning Atha the status of all-time leading scorer for Darlington’s Lady Tigers. She now stands at 1,822 points after the team’s win over Mt. Zion on Tuesday.
“Anna Claire's success is easy to see as she is dominant on the basketball court, a great leader and one of the hardest workers I have ever seen,” said Eddie Guth, athletic director. “But what truly sets her apart is her character, competitiveness, persistence and genuine love for team. She is a truly special Tiger.”
Atha has played basketball for Darlington since sixth grade and has also participated in track and field the past two years. The Lady Tigers senior has previously been named 2015 Rome News-Tribune All-Area Player of the Year, Georgia Athletic Coaches Association AA All-State first team member, and 7-AA Player of the Year. Atha has been an FCA Huddle Leader for the past four years and serves as a member on the board of FCA Leaders of Rome.
The daughter of Cathe and Tommy Atha of Rome, Anna Claire has signed to play basketball at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.
“Anna Claire is a true example of how hard work pays off. She has overcome three surgeries and had to learn to adjust to gimmick defenses designed to defend her specifically,” said Tommy, associate athletic director and head coach of the Lady Tigers. “She has always been a very physical player on offense and defense, and learning to play through contact at an early age has been a tremendous benefit to her and has enhanced her ability to score.
“Anna Claire started to become a great shooter after tearing her ACL and having to sit in a chair and shoot for hours,” he continued. “Her passion for the game and her understanding of the individual work required to be a great player have always been inspiring to me. She has always been self-motivated and is a true ‘gym rat’ who spends countless hours in the gym working on all aspects of her game. I have never made her get in the gym; it is something that she has been driven to do on her own and as a result she is achieving her goals and has created the opportunity to move forward and play college basketball at the division 1 level. I am extremely proud of her as a father and a coach. She's not only a great player, but she's a leader and a great teammate.”
Atha will be recognized Friday, Jan. 6, between the girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball games at home against Excel Christian Academy. The girls are slated to play at 6 p.m. with the boys following at 7:30 p.m. in the Huffman Athletic Center.
UPDATE: Tonight's basketball has been cancelled due to the potential for inclement weather; therefore, Anna Claire Atha's recognition will be rescheduled to coincide with the new game date/time.