By Jeffery Armstrong
Sheena Brown and LaTreace Johnson have been best friends since their sophomore year at Jonesboro High - they've played volleyball together, basketball together and they even signed their college scholarship letters to Brewton-Parker College together. So it's fitting that they both had their volleyball jerseys retired together in a brief ceremony after the Jonesboro-Cedar Grove girls basketball game Tuesday night.
Boys basketball coach Mack Cain presided over the ceremony and praised both Johnson and Brown for their work ethic and skill in leading the Jonesboro volleyball team to unprecedented heights. During their tenure, Jonesboro went 118-23, winning several region titles and advancing to the state playoffs for three straight seasons, advancing further in state each time.
"I'm so proud of both of them. Sheena and Treace mean so much to me and to the community - they never griped and they were always at practice," said Jonesboro volleyball head coach Dan Maehlman. "They definitely deserve this honor. They have great parents and they are like daughters to me."
Johnson and Brown have received all sorts of honors for their great play on the court. In fact, Johnson was the first Clayton County player to play in the Georgia High School All-Star Volleyball Game. She said the idea of having her jersey retired hadn't really sunk in at the moment - she said that if she came back in five years and heard people say nice things about her as they look at her jersey, then she will understand how good she was.
"This is unbelievable. I'm so glad to have my jersey retired and set an example for others," said Johnson. "The hard work has really paid off for me and Sheena."
Brown was happy to be honored along with Johnson on Tuesday night.
"It's great to have my jersey retired with my best friend. We've done so much together and now we're going to college together," Brown said. "I'm so surprised that I got my jersey retired, however. I was terrible as a freshman, I didn't play as a sophomore and during my junior year, I was coming off an injury. I guess I was recognized for my hard work between my junior and senior years."
Both Brown and Johnson believe they won't be the last Jonesboro volleyball players to have their jerseys retired.
"We had some awesome freshman girls on the team this past year; they could really play," Johnson said. "I think next year's team will go even further than we did."
"Hopefully, many of the young girls on the team will be in the same position as Treace and myself in a few years," Brown said. "They are good enough to one day have their jerseys retired."