A year without basketball has brought a new attitude to Ferriday High basketball.

Ferriday canceled its seasons last year because of COVID-19.

“That was a huge loss for us,” said Lady Trojan head coach Lisa Abron. “But we had so many cases here it really made us more aware. But the boys and girls have come back this year very hungry. We lack size this year, but we’re going to try and make up for it with quickness and speed, and playing good defense.”

Seniors on the Lady Trojan team are SheKayla Miller, Jakayla Griggs, Tamia Jefferson, Shakeria Washington, Kennedy Matthews, Alexia Milligan and Aaliyah Gray.

Juniors are Anashia Hawkins and Regjournea Butler.

Sophomores are Jakeria Griggs and Kaiyah Johnson, while Zaria Boxley is the lone freshman.

“Our seniors are showing a lot of leadership,” Aaron said. 

SheKayla Miller averaged 15.5 points as a sophomore and was the All-Parish Girls Player of the Year.

“SheKayla has really stepped up and I am expecting big things out of her this year,” Aaron said.

Abron said the girls called her most of the summer wanting extra time in the gym.

“We’ve got a tough schedule, but I think we are up for the challenge,” she said.

On the boys side, former Ferriday High legend Shawn Davis  replaces George Barnes, who returns to Ferriday Junior High this year.

Davis played for his father, Robert Cade, who led Ferriday to two state champions in 1988 and 1989.

Davis graduated in 1988 and went on to play basketball at Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech.

“I was joking with my dad that he needed to come out of retirement and coach,” Davis said. “And then he could hold it down for me.”

Davis, who served in the Navy, retired from being a traffic controller for the Department of Defense in Daleville, Al.,. after 20 years of service.

Davis said taking over a team that missed out on last year has been a challenge.

“It’s tough,  but it’s fun,” he said. “Everybody is going to have to have patience, especially myself.”

Davis returns three players who saw significant time two years ago in senior Derrick Carson and juniors Pamarion Swanson and Keynon Milligan.

“We’re getting to the point where we know each other,” Davis said. “Right now I really don’t have a second team to push the first team. But it’s getting there. We just need a bunch of games.”

Davis attended Oklahoma State on a basketball scholarship , where he majored in aviation.

When Leonard Hamilton left Oklahoma State to take the head coaching job at Miami, Davis eventually transferred to Louisiana Tech.

Davis played overseas in Ireland. When he returned home he joined the Navy to pursue his flying career. Five years later he earned the title of air traffic controller.

Davis married Brandy Bloodsaw of Ferriday in 2005. They have two children — Larijan, 23, and Akealis “Peanut” Bloodsaw, who played one year of football at Ferriday High.

Davis did get to spend some time with his new players this past summer at camps.

“We had some workouts and had 22-to-25 show up,” he said. “The big thing is that I need to back the interest in basketball here. Cell phones and X-Box take up a lot of time with these guys ow”

Davis was able to work with his new team this summer, even competing in camps.

“I had 22-25 show up,” Davis said. “The big thing is I need to get the interest back in basketball at Ferriday High. We’re going to be inexperienced with only there returning starters from two years ago.”

Ferriday High’s basketball teams opted out of 2020-21 because of COVID-19.

“It’s pretty much a building block from here,” Davis said. “They improved a lot over the summer, and expect to see more improvement. We’re going to learn to pass the ball and play defense. I’m ready to get to that point of tipping off the season. My nerves are way up there right now. I have a lot of anxiety waiting to get on the court with my players. I want to get the kids out there and instill a desire to be the best. They can be.”

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