• 66°

Scholar Athlete: Ferriday sophomore eyes hair salon, basketball scholarship

Ferriday High School’s Shanique Hillard carries a 3.0 GPA and remains active in school clubs while also starting on the girl’s basketball team. Hillard earned the starting position over the summer by impressing head coach Lisa Abron in various tournaments.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday High School’s Shanique Hillard carries a 3.0 GPA and remains active in school clubs while also starting on the girl’s basketball team. Hillard earned the starting position over the summer by impressing head coach Lisa Abron in various tournaments. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

 

FERRIDAY — In a perfect world, Shanique Hillard would run her own hair salon, with a picture of her high school and college basketball jerseys hanging on the walls.

As a sophomore at Ferriday, Hillard is thinking about her future, and she’s not taking any short-range shots when it comes to dreaming big.

“If I can get a basketball scholarship, I can still do hair,” Hillard said. “Then, I want to run a few hair places around town. A lot of basketball conversations would be going on.”

In order to achieve that dream, Hillard has to put in the work, something she’s never shied away from. Hillard maintains a 3.0 GPA, while playing basketball and running track, serving as a majorette in the band and being active in clubs such as Beta and Future Business Leaders of America.

Lately, Hillard has been making an impact outside of the classroom and on the court, developing into a dominant post player for the Lady Trojans. With the help of head coach Lisa Abron, Hillard has started to reach her potential, using her long arms and legs to secure rebounds in the paint.

“I watched her come up in the junior high program, and I always saw that potential,” Abron said. “Before we even got started with our season, I did a few things with her. She’s tall and very athletic, can run like a deer all day, so I really wanted to work with her a lot. She didn’t play very much as a freshman, but she did watch.”

Before her sophomore season, Hillard benefitted from playing against stiff competition in the summer. Suddenly, Hillard started to use post moves that Abron taught her, using it to score on the low block in tournaments at Adams County Christian School and at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

“I think she got more confidence,” Abron said. “She stepped up. She did phenomenal. It was very surprising because it was a drastic change.”

Abron admitted she shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the reputation Hillard has built amongst Ferriday faculty is that she has a willingness to work hard and excel.

“She learns very fast,” Abron said. “She listens, very coachable. That’s all you can ask for in a kid. She never complains, and that’s the kind of kid you want to coach.”

Hillard’s hard work ethic is something she’s inherited honestly from parents Walter and Cherry Hillard. Both have had a positive impact on Hillard’s success, but for her recent success on the floor, she was quick to give praise to her coach.

“Of course, momma and my daddy, but Coach is one of my role models too,” Hillard said. “She’s helped me so much. She always tells me what to do. She worked with me, and now, I’m a starter.”

Currently, Hillard has her eyes set on Northwestern State in Natchitoches after high school, and if all goes as planned, Hillard’s jerseys will be hanging in a hair salon near you following college graduation.