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Thornton makes it to Final Four with MSU

By Judy Reed

Austin Thornton holds MSU trophy.

Austin Thornton, a 2007 Cedar Springs graduate and red-shirt sophomore on Michigan State’s basketball team, got some playing time last weekend and helped the Spartans in their 70-69 win over Tennessee, sealing their appearance in the Final Four this weekend.

Thornton scored a three-pointer, and got four fouls while on the floor.

His mom and dad, Sara and Tom Thornton, were there to cheer him on. “He’s been playing more,” said Sara, about Austin’s role on the team this season. “It’s great.”

Thornton worked hard for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks basketball team, and his hard work showed.  In 2007 he was voted to The Associated Press All-State Class B; named to the 2007 Grand Rapids Press Dream Team, the Detroit Free Press Dream Team and The Detroit News Class B First Team; and led Coach Andy Secor’s Cedar Springs team to the Class B regional finals, averaging 26.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a senior, capturing a fourth-consecutive district championship and a third conference title in four years with a 22-2 record. He also owns the Michigan High School record with 572 career made free throws and ranks second all-time in the state with 54 consecutive made free throws.

Austin Thornton cuts a piece of net after MSU’s win Friday.

Coach Secor said he still keeps in contact with Thornton throughout the year, and often goes to see him play. “All I can think of when I see Austin playing at this level is all the hard work he put in during the time he was in our program,” said Secor. “I have never been around a player willing to put in the time that he did. Everything he gets in the game of basketball he deserves, because of the unthinkable hours he has put it.”

Secor said he went and saw Thornton in the Final Four last year. “As a lifetime Spartan fan, it was even that much more special to see a kid that played for you take the floor for the green and white in front of 70,000 people,” he remarked.

“This year it’s been great watching them make another trip to the Final Four,” he added. “It is a little sweeter this year, as he has played an even bigger role on the team. Austin helped our program accomplish some special things while he was here, and myself and my coaching staff are really happy for him that he is living out his dream at the highest level.”

No. 5 Michigan State (28-8) will take on hometown favorite No. 5 Butler (32-4), in the 2010 NCAA Tournament Final Four this Saturday, April 3, at 6:07 p.m. EDT in Indianapolis, Indiana, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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