Like father, like daughter
by Donell Maxie
Mar 14, 2013 | 3293 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leroy Cotton
Leroy Cotton
slideshow
LaShyra Cotton
LaShyra Cotton
slideshow
The relationship between a father and daughter is a special one.

Although there are many things that the two might have in common, when that little girl becomes a teenager those common things that once connected the two usually disappear.

In the case of Leroy Cotton, Sr. and his teenage daughter LaShyra Cotton that relationship is as strong as ever and the binding instrument is basketball.

Leroy is the varsity basketball coach for the East Side Trojans here in Cleveland and LaShyra has been the best player on the school's varsity girls basketball team since she was a freshman.

On Friday, the two will share more than last names when they hit the court to represent the state of Mississippi in the annual Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Basketball Game in Montgomery, Ala.

Leroy will be the head coach in the boys contest, and LaShyra will compete in the girls game. To see all of their hard work culminate in such a huge way means everything to Leroy.

"It's an honor and a blessing for us to have the opportunity to participate in this event. It means a great deal for her (LaShyra) playing in the game and me having the chance to coach the Mississippi boys team," said Leroy.

"We have spent some long nights in the gym and all of our efforts on and off the court has paid off. For LaShyra's senior season to culminate with her playing in this game is a result of all those hours in the gym working on her game," added Leroy.

This past season was LaShyra's senior campaign and the stellar ball player entered the year as a Clarion Ledger Dandy Dozen selection.

In addition, LaShyra signed her National Letter of Intent with the University of Southern Mississippi in November to play for the Lady Eagles next year.

The 5-feet-11 guard/forward had an incredible season as she led the Trojanettes by averaging 22.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, four steals and 2.6 blocks per game this season, guiding the team to the 3A North Half Playoffs. LaShyra was also named the The Bolivar Commercial Girls Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.

Leroy led his Trojans to the 3A North Half Playoffs this season as well. The team finished the year 22-10 and Leroy was named the Region 4-3A Coach of the Year.

For Leroy and LaShyra Friday will be a big day, but in many respects it will just be another East Side double-header.

"With her playing first I will watch her until halftime and then I will go in to be with my team and then come back out and try to sneak a peek at the end of the game," said Leroy.

LaShyra was not available for comment by press time, but Leroy said, "LaShyra was very excited to be chosen to play in the game. Because she is signed already she's just going out and competing with no pressure of trying to turn heads. She is ready to go and looking to have a good time out there Friday."

"I told her to always remember what we talk about when we play. I told her to always go hard, play the game the right way, be a good teammate and give maximum effort. I know she will do that and I will do the same with my team," Leroy added.

The all-star doubleheader will be played at the ADA Dome in Montgomery. The girls game starts at 5 p.m. with the boys contest set for 7 p.m.