With just minutes remaining in the Ferriday Lady Trojans’ home win over Natchez High Friday, Ferriday High girls coach Lisa Abron had to be reminded the major milestone she was about to collect.
With the 52-38 win on her home court, Abron reached the 400-win mark in her 22nd year at Ferriday High.
“I was so wrapped up in the game that I had forgotten about that,” Abron said. “The girls started saying near the end, ‘Coach, you got 400.’ It was good to get it against one of our rivals. They have an outstanding program and it had been a while since we beat them. It was very special to reach 400 against such a good program.”
Abron was a standout basketball player at Vidalia High before signing with Hinds Community College in Utica, Ms.
Abron was inducted into the Hinds-Utica Hall of Fame in March of 2008.
She signed with Texas Southern after two years at Hinds.
Abron’s first coaching win came against Newellton in November of 1998. Her first team went 22-8, losing to Evangel in the first round of the playoffs.
“There have been a lot of highs and lows,” Abron said.
Abron has gotten close to a state title on a few occasions.
From 2000-03, the Lady Trojans went 115-22 led by all-everything Monique Jones, who averaged 23.0 points and 12.1 rebounds for her prep career.
“Those girls played together for Willie Woods, who started a league when they were third-and-fourth graders because he knew how special they were,” Abron said. “I didn’t have to do a lot of coaching.”
That 2001-02 team went 25-4 and was only the third Ferriday girls team to reach the Sweet 16.
Abron said she has a lot of former mentors to thank for their guidance and advice.
“I learned a lot from my high school coach — Lillian Johnson,” Abron said. “I also learned so much from my college coaches.”
Abron played for Luisa Stewart, Lacey Reynolds and Robert Gatlin at Texas Southern and Lester Owens at Hinds Community College in Utica. Abron was inducted into to the Hinds-Utica Hall of Fame in 2008.
Abron said former Ferriday High boys coach Robert Cade was also a positive influence.
“He told me to love and care for my players and keep God in everything,” Abron said.
Abron also complimented former Lady Trojan coach Joan McFarland, who won two state championships at Ferriday.
“Joan set the standard,” Abron said.
Abron said she has had to adapt over the years.
“I think the game has really changed,” she said. “There is so much more competition. The girls game has gotten better and better over the years. It used to be if you had a guard and big player you could beat anybody. Now you have multiple defenses and girls going to AAU camps and other camps, which has really helped. And girls see they can now go to the next level at college and play basketball.”
It’s also rare now for a coach to spend a long career at the same school.
“This is all I know,” Abron said. “I’ve felt at home here since day one. Several schools have contacted me, but I am so attached to the kids in this area. This is home.”
Abron said she can’t imagine not sitting on a coaching bench.
“It’s going to be hard, I just can’t imagine not coaching,” she said. “But that’s going to be down the road, for sure. I like being in the gym. My kids have always been involved in sports and I have always wanted to be around them.”
Abron said getting close to the state tournament in the past couple of years has helped motivate her even more now.
“It fueled my fire,” she said. “It helped rebuild my momentum. I had gotten too comfortable.”
And Ferriday’s football team winning the Class 2A state title last month has also been a big motivation.
“To see them do that really stoked my fire,” she said. “I want our girls to experience that.”