Erica Henderson has been playing basketball since she was 7 years old and she has no reason to stop when she leaves Charles Henderson High School at the end of this school year.
“I just love the game of basketball,” said the Lady Trojans’ senior guard. “I have always been around it and to just know that I can go to school for free doing something that I like is good.”
Henderson has made her way up from the basketball leagues at the Troy Recreation Department to Charles Henderson Middle School to where she is now as the leader of the Lady Trojans of Charles Henderson High School.
While at the high school she has been involved with successful teams since her freshman year at CHHS. She has been a starter on the varsity squad since she made the transition after the eighth grade season ended at CHMS.
“It has been a thrill to coach Erica,” CHHS head coach Dyneshia Jones said. “It is always good to have an eighth grader come over and start right away for us. It has been a blessing to have her.”
Jones said she never had to work with Henderson as much as some other girls.
“Through the years she has learned a lot, but she knew more than some of our seniors did when she first got here as far as basketball sense goes,” Jones said.
And Henderson has helped lead the Lady Trojans to three straight Southern Regional appearances, but she wants to go further than that in her senior year.
“We are trying to make sure everybody plays hard through every game so that we can get to Troy and when we get to Troy we need to continue to play hard and smart like we know how to do so we can win the region championship and go to Birmingham,” Henderson said.
And Jones is confident in the Lady Trojans’ chances at making it four straight for one reason.
“I know we are going to make it there again with her on the team,” Jones said. “I know for sure.”
The experience Henderson has gained through the consecutive trips to Troy should help the Lady Trojans this year.
“Once you get to the playoffs the team you might have played in the regular season is completely different,” she said. “They have watched film on you and can key in on who to lock down. So you just have to stay focused.”
And even if a team does not look like much on the court, Henderson said looks can be deceiving in the playoffs.
“When you get to the regionals you may look at a team and they may look like they are not as much competition, but they may be fundamentally sound,” Henderson said. “I remember one year we got beat by a team who we underestimated and they were all fundamentals.”
It is that type of leadership that Jones said is what makes Henderson such a special player.
“You get some players that that in their junior and senior years when they average as many points as Erica has they think there is nothing more they need to learn or they think they don’t need to ask any more questions, but I always see here wanting to get better,” Jones said. “She is always shooting after practice to get better and there are always questions from her during the game, ‘Coach what did I do wrong about this’ or stuff like that. She is always trying to perfect herself.
“She wants to get better, she wants to learn more and she wants to move forward in her basketball career and that is good. She also has good grades and she is the total package. Any coach would love to have an athlete like Erica.”
Looking back on her time at CHHS, Henderson said she has no regrets.
“I had two surgeries and to come back from that and to still have coaches looking at me and offering me basketball scholarships is big for me,” Henderson said.
When it comes down to making a decision on where to play next year, Henderson said there is no specific place she would like to be.
“I am not picky,” she said. “As long as it is a full scholarship I am good. I will go take a visit to see if it is the place for me, but other than that I am not picky as long as it is not too far away.”