Basketball helps East Texan cope with tragedy - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Basketball helps East Texan cope with tragedy


Sierra Henry's life is basketball. 

Henry doesn't play for just her life.  She plays in memory of a life lost.

July 4, 2011 is a day Henry will never forget.  

A drive by shooting in Athens left Henry wounded and her best friend, Desiree Brown, dead.

"They put (Brown) in the ambulance," said Henry.  "And from what I knew later she was already dead, she had died instantly."

Henry fights tears thinking about the future the two friends had always dreamed of.

"We were best friends since we were seven,"  said Henry. "I use basketball as her memory. Her funeral was in our gym and she was buried in her basketball uniform and we had grown up playing basketball together, so, I use it to keep me going."

After the shooting, Henry left Texas to go to school in Colorado. 

When she returned to East Texas, she found comfort on the court at Tyler Junior College. 

"Not only did she pick up friends, she picked up a team full of friends, she has 11 friends now from losing her one," said TJC women's head basketball coach Trenia Jones.  "I think she is sticking by those because she is a really good friend to all the girls on the team."

Henry is thankful to have basketball in her life.

"If I did not have my teammates, I don't know where I would be," she said.  "They are my best friends."

With her new best friends, Henry plans to make the most of her life.  On the court and off.

"This guy came through with a AK-47," said Henry.  "He could have wiped out everyone, so I feel blessed to make it through.  I have to do something with my life. It would be a waste if I did not."

Where ever life takes Henry, her best friend lost will be there with her.

"It's like I can hear her saying, 'You got it, you're all right, you'll get it next time.'" said Henry. "I just keep going, because I know that she knew I could do it, so I just keep going."

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