Benicia, California. It sits by the waterside, home to roughly 26,000 people and was founded in May of 1847. A small town in Northern California. Most people have never heard of Benicia . “Not before Kourtney came,” Lady Tigers basketball coach David Ponton said.
Benicia is home to Kourtney Sherman, a walk-on from a small town in California who felt she had what it took to play for Grambling State University .
“They told me if I could contribute or bring something to the team then I would get a scholarship,” Sherman said. “So I worked hard, got to start my freshman year, and they gave me the scholarship.
“I felt that since I was from a small city I got overlooked. Nobody’s heard of it, nobody knows about it, but I felt like I had enough skills and I could hang.”
Sherman leads the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game for the women who, with 19 consecutive losses, are having one of the worst seasons in the school’s history.
“We feel like these are trials and tribulations we’re going through right now,” Sherman said. “We went through so much as a team since preseason and losing, but once we get the win we feel like it will be well worth it.”
Sherman began playing basketball at a young age after she was influenced by her relatives to do so.
“I saw them, and they were good. But actually my parents didn’t think I would play because they always figured I was the girly type and I was playing just for fun. But I kept playing, and I started getting good so I kept at it.
With the season going the way it is, it has been a tough workload for the entire team, including Sherman.
“We’re asking a lot of her right now,” Ponton said. “But she is a very positive kid and is one of those people that are always trying to uplift someone else.”
The transition to college can be difficult, particularly for an out-of-state student. This is why it is imperative to have the right people around you, generating a positive force. According to Sherman, the GSU coaching staff has been that force.
“Outside of being good coaches, they are great people. It’s not strictly basketball with them. It’s not like having a coach. It’s like having an uncle or someone you know you can talk to,” she said.
Though many people have never heard of Benicia , Sherman is doing her part to put her town on the map.