When she came to Sulphur High School in August of 2010, Ebony Harrison felt out of place, but realized soon after that she had been given a very special second chance.
Less than three years later, her trust in the system was repaid in a big way as she got to be apart of the Sulphur Lady Bulldogs undefeated state championship team.
While her basketball days might be over, Harrison’s days of giving those in need of a second chance have only just begun.
This August Harrison plans to begin graduate school, where she plans to pursue a career as a CPS investigator.
These days, Harrison might be far away from where it all began for her in Sulphur, but she is forever grateful to the chance that was given to her by the Lady Bulldogs basketball team and the Sulphur school system.
“Getting to play in a town like Sulphur was a special experience for me,” Harrison said. “The town packed our gym for every game, and when we won it was like they won with us. It was so special looking out and seeing all the little kids watching us, knowing we were role models for them. Getting to set an example for them was really great and very special.”
“That season was extremely personal for our team,” Harrison added. “We didn’t just want to prove to others but to ourselves that we could meet the goals we had set for ourselves. We put so much time into becoming not just a strong team, but a strong family as well. The chemistry we had was incredible and it was something I never got to experience anywhere else.”
Head coach Toby Todd had fond memories about Harrison, particularly when he first met the player that would help define a season for the program.
“Ebony was an outstanding player, and her athleticism and speed were both huge factors for us the year we won the state title,” he said. “I remember when I first met her and I just said ‘Please tell me you play basketball’, and she said ‘I’m not sure if I want to play basketball’ I just simply looked at her and said ‘You have to at least give it a try’ and the rest from that moment on was history.”
“Often times she was a virtual mismatch for our opponents on the floor,” Todd said. “Ebony worked very hard on her game and really grew fundamentally on both ends of the court.”
Harrison also had fond memories of Coach Todd and said she is forever thankful to him for everything he did for her.
“I could go on forever about Coach Todd if I’m being honest,” she said. “Moving to Sulphur was probably one of the best sacrifices my mother ever made for me. I felt very out of place and scared when I first got to Sulphur. But Coach Todd did so much to comfort myself and my family and he helped us cope with this big move so much. You can’t replace someone like a Coach Todd. He’s a genius on the court, and he does so much for his players off the court and helps them as much as he can.”
After winning the state championship, Harrison went on to win another championship the following year at Murray State College in Tishomingo, where the Lady Aggies won the regional title.
That season, Harrison totaled 228 rebounds with 192 on the defensive end, along with 36 assists for the year. She also averaged 9.2 points per game.
After her time at MSC, Harrison went on to St. Gregory’s in Shawnee to finish out her collegiate career, before she moved to Tyler, Texas to finish her bachelor’s degree in social work.
“Ebony always kept us laughing and was always there to lend an encouraging word,” former Sulphur teammate Bailee Eldred said. “She has such a vibrant personality, and I’m so glad I got to experience winning a state title with her. All of my memories with her consist of nothing but laughter.”
While she might have been busy working towards her degree, Harrison still managed to keep up with the Lady Bulldogs this season as they made it back to the state tournament in Oklahoma City.
“It was amazing for me hearing about the girls making it back to state,” Harrison said. “I wish I could have been there to support them, but I was cheering my heart out from Texas.”