Some rivalries are formed. Others simply exist.
“Harker Heights and Shoemaker don’t really have a school rivalry,” Lady Knights head basketball coach Shirretha Nelson said, “but from the coaching perspective? Yes, that’s a rivalry.
“Anyone that I’ve played against in the past, including siblings, there’s always going to be a rivalry and competition.”
And one of her oldest rivalries was renewed Tuesday as Harker Heights closed out District 12-6A play against the Lady Grey Wolves and assistant coach Clarneva Pierre – Nelson’s sister.
“I think we’ve always had a competitive nature growing up being siblings,” Pierre said. “A lot of the things that I’ve done so far, as far as sports and my career, stems from always watching my big sister.
“I’ve always wanted to be a notch up, always wanted to be better than her, and she’s always been one of the elite players ever since I’ve watched her.”
Growing up as the Lonix sisters, Nelson and Pierre are the eldest of four siblings with two younger brothers, and both are Ellison graduates, playing four years on varsity before embarking on college careers.
Nelson graduated in 1993 and Pierre in 1996.
“It’s always been competitive like that in our family,” Pierre said. “Now, we’re just taking it from the playing stage to the coaching stage, so that’s exciting.”
Nelson is in her 12th year overseeing
Harker Heights after starting her coaching career at Eastern Hills Middle School. Then, she was the freshman and junior varsity coach with the Lady Knights before taking control of the program.
Pierre followed in her sister’s footsteps, beginning coaching at Eastern Hills before beginning the first of two stints at Shoemaker with a six-year stint back at Eastern Hill in between. She is in her second year back with the Lady Grey Wolves.
Despite all the similarities, Nelson and Pierre have never played or coached together, and that will not be changing.
Killeen Independent School District has a policy preventing the sisters from coaching together, and while both sisters respect the policy, Nelson believes a partnership would be beneficial.
“We are a different type of breed of siblings,” Nelson said. “We work well together, but we are very critical of each other also.
“If I had a choice, no doubt about it, I would pick her to be my assistant any day of the week.
“She’s going to be a great head coach, and I tell people that all the time.”
While coaching together would be nice, for now, when the sisters encounter each other, they are opponents on the court.
“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side,” Nelson said. “I love them, but I want to beat them, and after the game, I’ll give them some tips.”
Both agree, however, neither is very good at losing.
“We’re horrible at taking losses,” Pierre said, “but in the end, we’re going to keep working and do what we have to in order to make sure that our teams are successful.”
The last time the sisters coached against each other was six years ago, when the Lady Knights and the Lady Grey Wolves split their two games.
Earlier this season, Nelson warned her sister the series was not going to end in a tie again this year.
“It’s not going to be a tiebreak,” she said. “It’s going to be a win by me.”
The Lady Knights beat Shoemaker 44-30 in the first round of district and closed out district play with a 47-21 win Tuesday.
And for those keeping track of the sisters’ record, Nelson now leads Pierre 3-1.