Attention grows as Pope captain stakes claim as county’s top scorer
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 24, 2014 12:36 AM | 2009 views | 3 3 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pope’s basketball success has rotated around Kierra Henry for a couple years now, and the junior hasn’t let her team down. Thus far this season, she’s leading the county with 25.6 points per game, as the Lady Greyhounds continue their hunt for a state playoff berth.
<BR>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Pope’s basketball success has rotated around Kierra Henry for a couple years now, and the junior hasn’t let her team down. Thus far this season, she’s leading the county with 25.6 points per game, as the Lady Greyhounds continue their hunt for a state playoff berth.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
slideshow
Kierra Henry has always liked touching the rim.

She would try jumping as high as she could, grabbing the net and pulling herself up until she was able to hang from the basket and then drop down to the floor.

One day, Pope girls basketball coach Courtney Harris caught Henry, then an eighth-grader, hanging from the rim and told her to get down.

“She thought she was in big trouble,” Harris said.

After Henry came down, the coach asked her how she got up there.

“She told me she jumped,” Harris said. “I asked her to do it again, and she did. That’s when I saw how talented she was.”

Henry got herself noticed that day, and more have noticed her ever since.

Cobb County’s leading scorer, averaging 25.6 points per game, Henry is the go-to-player for the Lady Greyhounds (10-10, 5-4) as they battle for seeding in the Region 7AAAAA playoff race.

Henry, a junior, started playing basketball in the seventh grade, when she was 5-foot-5. Now 5-9, she’s since become a three-year varsity starter and two-time captain for Pope.

“She’s just a phenomenal, overall athlete,” Harris said. “She can hang in the air and make adjustments most girls can’t do. She understands her role on the team as a leader, ball-distributor and scorer.

“She understands what happens on the floor and in the game as well. She was a shooting guard for us the last year or two, and I’ve asked her to transition to point guard.”

The move has paid dividends for Pope, which is out to make its second straight appearance in the state playoffs.

“Normally, I’m just trying to score,” Henry said. “But this year, I’m getting better at everything else.”

Henry doesn’t just lead the county in scoring. She’s among the top 10 in 3-point shooting (.490) and average rebounds (8.4), assists (3.7) and steals (4.3).

Henry was drawn to basketball as a middle-schooler, loving to watch the NBA on television.

“When I started playing, I just loved it,” said Henry, who cited NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant as her favorite player. “I wanted to be good like other players I saw in the NBA and in high school and college. I just wanted to get better at it.”

Henry plays throughout the year, honing her skills with the Peak Performance AAU team during Pope’s offseason. She made Pope’s varsity roster as a freshman and, over the years, has used her skills and height to her advantage.

“Being taller than the other guards helps me to shoot over whoever is guarding me,” Henry said. “I like driving to the basket and drawing contact. I still need to practice my ball-handling, but I’m getting better.”

Harris has seen the growth and progress Henry has made.

“She’s so coachable,” Harris said. “She does whatever is asked of her. She didn’t have any problem transitioning from shooting guard to point guard this year, and the move has helped make her and our team better.

“We really love working with her and having her as a part of the program. She’s a great student and an all-around good kid.”

Henry takes pride in being a team captain, but she isn’t the type to get into a teammate’s face.

“The team looks to me to be a leader, but I’m more of a passive one,” she said. “I don’t yell that much. I lead more by example.”

With five games remaining in Pope’s regular season, many of Henry’s goals are still in reach. She wants to lead the Lady Greyhounds to a region championship and the final four of the state playoffs.

On a personal level, Henry said she wants to break all the school records she can, including total and average points for a season and career.

Her 43-point total in a 95-90 win over Walhalla (S.C.) in December set a team record for points in a game.

“That’s one goal down,” she said.
Comments
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cobbcitizen
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January 28, 2014
Great for this young lady but don't think for a minute that McEachern doesn't have her on the radar. Lots of promises and high hopes can make people do funny things. Hope for Pope's sake she stays but don't count on anything until you see her in the uniform next year. I hope for the sake of this county and the schools who are doing it right that she stays but the "AOT" recruiting train is pulling into the station and they are looking for passengers.
cobbcitizen
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January 24, 2014
Congrats to this young lady, too bad she will not be at Pope next year. She will be the scoring leader at McEachern next year since they are graduating alot. Gotta "rebuild" or should we say "RELOAD". It's a shame
MasterP123
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January 25, 2014
@cobbcitizen. You made a very ignorant statement.I know Kierra and her mom very well. She will graduate from Pope. Don't assume everyone lacks ethics and will do anything for a state championship. She is a great student, plays for a great AAU program and is getting the exposure needed for a college scholarship. Let's not drag everyone into the mess that is Cobb County, GHSA and their turning a blind eye to rule breaking. Let's celebrate Kierra.
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