Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003
FERRIDAY, La. &045; You think just because the Lady Trojans finished 30-0 this season and snagged another district 3-2A title that LaShawnda Pryor is satisfied?
Pryor, the senior starting point guard for Ferriday, remembers well last season’s achievements that came with a 25-4 finish.
But more vividly she recalls how close the Lady Trojans came to getting to the state finals before losing to Christian Life in the semis.
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Pryor won’t let her teammates forget that unfairy-tale ending this postseason starting tonight at home vs. Clinton at 7 p.m.
&uot;You cannot walk in and think beating a team is going to be easy,&uot; Pryor said. &uot;(Clinton) is going to want to win just as bad as we do. If you lose you’re gone.&uot;
To say Pryor and her comrades are on a mission is an understatement.
All year long there have been peaks to climb and goals to attain for Ferriday, but none of them rest higher on the totem pole than a state championship.
From the swarming defense they torture opponents with to the fun-and-run offense they execute into points, the Lady Trojans seemingly have played every game this season like it was their last.
&uot;Once we get one steal off the press, everybody starts to get hyped and we want to keep going,&uot; Pryor said. &uot;Other teams can’t match our speed and our ability to run keeps the tempo up in our favor.&uot;
Pryor is one of five Ferriday seniors who have acted as one since junior high.
Originally from Ferriday, Pryor moved with her mother to Houston in the sixth grade before returning to Concordia Parish her eighth-grade year.
She has been a Lady Trojan since then and head coach Lisa Abron could not be more thankful to have Pryor on her roster.
&uot;I don’t know if (Pryor) knows how big of an asset to this team she really is,&uot; Abron said. &uot;When she is not in there it can get chaotic at times. Monique (Jones) can play the point, but there is nothing like having your top ballhandler in there.&uot;
Jones, whose game has her headed to Baylor University next season, typically gets the headlines and bouquets with her knack for dropping in buckets from anywhere on the court.
But the argument can easily be made that Pryor is more valuable to the Lady Trojans because she acts as the floor general.
&uot;She sees the overall picture of what’s happening on the floor for us,&uot; Abron said. &uot;She has no trouble reminding people of their assignments. Her leadership qualities have always been there.&uot;
Pryor said running the show just comes naturally to her. She the pace of the game rests in her hands.
Plus, Pryor conducts herself in a very unselfish manner, believing that five &045; not an individual &045; wins championships.
&uot;She kind of plays in the background at times because she is very modest,&uot; Abron said, &uot;but she is a vital part of this team.&uot;
Ferriday faces a Clinton team tonight that likes to pound the ball inside to open up its outside shooting.
With a high seed and a tough bracket lying ahead, some believe the Lady Trojans will not break a sweat against Clinton.
However, neither Pryor nor Abron have that mindset after sipping from the Sweet 16’s golden chalice last season, but not enjoying an entire cup.
&uot;We were kind of awestruck last year and possibly got too excited,&uot; Abron said. &uot;This year we have a very business-like approach and want to take it all.&uot;