During the offseason, long after the rest of the Madison Prep girls basketball team went home, Sherry Porter could be found back in the gym, working on her shooting.
In between shots, Porter’s mind would wander back to all the people who told her “no” in the past. She would think of all the friends who told her it was a bad idea to move to Baton Rouge from her hometown of Amite or to the boys who used to tell her girls couldn’t play basketball.
But more than anything, Porter thought about how she didn’t make first-team all-district last season.
So she decided to make her sophomore season a statement to anyone who doubted her abilities.
Porter made her statement loud and clear in the past week as she scored 103 points in the past three games, including a 40-point romp against Christian Life on Tuesday.
“I don’t really like when people look down on me,” Porter said. “I just love proving people wrong. I love when people say, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t do that.’
“It motivates me to be better.”
And better she has been, scoring 27 points against Varnado and another 36 points against Southern Lab before her showcase against Christian Life, easily giving her the title of Madison Prep’s leading scorer.
But it wasn’t doubt that sparked Porter’s streak the past few games. It was Madison Prep coach Dwayne Hayes’ words of encouragement and confidence that led Porter to believing in what she was capable of doing.
“Coach (Hayes) had been talking to me about my mindset,” Porter said. “He was saying that if you have the mindset that you want to make first team (all district) and you want to prove to people that you are worth being first team, then you will be first team.”
The streak has been a major factor in Madison Prep’s transformation from a .500 team in it’s first season as a varsity program in 2013-14 — a season in which Porter also led the Chargers in scoring — to a record of 21-7 this year, including 4-0 through the first round of district.
“She’s been playing hard, and her defense has really opened up her offense,” Hayes said. “She’s just been doing everything she needs to do to put the team on her back and win.”
But Porter isn’t done for the season just yet.
Porter said she and Hayes spend time before each game making a list of goals for her performance that night, and as her stat lines continue to grow, so do her expectations.
Porter said she thinks she has another 40-point showing left in her this year and plans to make Thursday night’s game against Kentwood to kick off the second round her best yet.
“I think I can get 40 points again, at least six steals, try to get at least six rebounds and I’m going to try to get 10 assists,” Porter said with a slight grin.