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Mother's Memory Fuels Pointer to Success

KILLEEN (February 20, 2013) -- A loud and wild crowd can pump up any high school basketball player.
But for Ellison senior Deja Pointer, the voice that's no longer there is what encourages her the most.
"I try to picture her there and try to go out there and go for it," Deja said.
Sonya Pointer wasn't just her daughter's biggest fan. She was Ellison's biggest fan.
"I don't usually hear voices or people…but you could sure hear her, telling them to hustle…" said coach Sherry McKinnon.
"My wife would talk a lot and had a very carrying type voice, a bold type voice," said Michael Pointer.
"If I wasn't doing doing well I'd hear, 'Deja, you better dadadada…' It changes a lot," Deja said.
But by the time Deja's sophomore year rolled around, Sonya was in a year-long battle with cancer and was too weak to come to any of her daughter's games.
"It changed…just my play of the game totally because I knew that she wasn't well enough to leave the house…" Deja said.
But for one game, in December of 2010, Sonya was there in the stands. Cancer had taken its toll and her voice wasn't as loud as before, but her presence still made a difference.
"For her to come and make that sacrifice, it changed the game," Deja said.
"I think she had five 3s that game," coach McKinnon said. "It was one of the best games she's ever played."
But just a week later, Deja came home from a game to find her mom clinging to life. Deja's biggest fan had waited until her daughter got home for one last goodbye.
"I knew she had waited for me to get there. It meant the world to me. I don't know how to put it into words," Deja said.
Her mom is no longer in the stands, but Deja still hears her voice at every game.
"It motivates me for the most part to go out there and try my best," Deja said.
"She's doing things as if her mother's still here. It's as if she's right here," Michael said.
The motivation of her mom's memorhy led to Deja's best season. She finished the year second on the team in scoring, rebounds and assists and helped Ellison set the school record for wins this season.
"Very exciting to know that we went out with…like that and set standards for the years to come," Deja said.
And she knows no one would be happier than her number one fan.


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