Lewis sisters join forces on basketball team

LEFT+TO+RIGHT%3A+Dana+Smith%2C+Jade+Lewis%2C+Dhati+Lewis%2C+Trinity+Lewis%2C+Briaiah+Lewis%2C+and+Roderick+Hill+come+together+to+celebrate+Trinity%27s+senior+night+on+Jan.+29th.

William Randall

LEFT TO RIGHT: Dana Smith, Jade Lewis, Dhati Lewis, Trinity Lewis, Briaiah Lewis, and Roderick Hill come together to celebrate Trinity’s senior night on Jan. 29th.

By William Randall, Henry W. Grady High School

For their entire lives, the Lewis sisters have been playing sports, but for the first time ever, the three are playing together on the girls basketball team. 

The Lewis sisters are fueled by competition. Junior Jade Lewis, the second oldest sister, believes that without the ambitious nature of her family in sports, she would be a completely different person. 

“We have a very competitive family,” Jade said. “I don’t really know anything besides that.”

The sisters’ father, Dhati Lewis, established this competitive household by building a love for sports in his kids since they were young.

“I think one of the biggest things I started was a love for the game of basketball,” Lewis said. “All of my kids, from the ages of 4-5 years old, were playing some type of sport.”

Lewis deeply cherishes the moments he has while playing sports with his children.

“[Playing sports with them] has always been the daddy-daughter, daddy-son time,” Lewis said. “It’s a lot of the quality time I got with them.”

 Lewis played college football, but when he had three girls, he chose basketball.

 “My dad played football his whole life,” senior and oldest sister Trinity said. “He ended up having three girls back-to-back, so it was a quick decision to go to basketball.”

With the recent addition of youngest sister and freshman Briaiah this season, Jade enjoys the new look of the Grady basketball team.

 “I personally like it a lot better than my other years at Grady just because I know my sisters better than I know other people, so it’s easier to work with them,” Jade said.

Despite Briaiah’s nagging injuries throughout the season, her impact is obvious when she’s on the floor. 

“She’s had a lot of injuries this year, so I haven’t really gotten a good chance to see her,” Jade said. “But when she does play, she’s a game changer; she just goes for it.”

Because of the age difference between Briaiah and her two older sisters, she’s relied on them significantly for guidance.

 “I want to be in the leadership role of captain one day, so I look up to both of them a lot,” Briaiah said. “I can go up to them and then they tell me what I need to accomplish.”

First-year head girls basketball coach Dana Smith counts on the trio to lead by example. The team, led by the sisters, qualified for the state playoffs with a current region record of 7-4 and overall record of 9-9.

“I do rely on them to be consistent,” Smith said. “Everything they’ve already done, already accomplished on and off the court, I rely on them to lead their legacy.”

Smith speaks highly of the behavior and attitude expressed by the Lewis sisters.

“It’s every coach’s dream,” Smith said. “The dream is to have relatives that are well-raised, well-coached, well-behaved and obviously, talented. The dream is having the Lewis sisters on your team.” 

Smith depends on Trinity to be a dynamic player, to control games and to be an overall leader. 

“Trinity is a well-rounded, highly-talented, true point guard,” Smith said. “She can attack the rim; she can create her own shot; she controls the pace of the game; she has a high IQ; she’s everything a coach wants in a point guard.” 

Smith counts on Jade being the equalizer for everybody as well as an explosive and dynamic shooter. 

“Jade is the middle balance between the three,” Smith said. “She’s my go-to shooter, team captain. Based on her ability to lead on and off the court, she’s a true advocate of team effort and motivation.” 

Smith has seen Briaiah grow on the offensive side and as a defensive asset. 

“Briaiah is a little bit of both,” Smith said. ”She’s a little bit of Trinity, a little bit of Jade, but she brings her own style to the game of basketball. She’s a fireball on the court. She’s always putting pressure on their main player, but she’s developed into an offensive threat.”

Like Smith, Lewis notices how different and unique each of his daughters’ abilities are on the court.

“They’re all so unique and have different skill sets,” Lewis said.“They’ve obviously played together in the street and whatnot, but just to see those pieces come together has been really joyful for me.”

Even with all praise from the sisters’s father and coach, Jade still sees some areas of improvement that need to be focused on, particularly sibling rivalry issues.

 “Naturally, arguments come up, and we have to find better ways to work around them,” Jade said.

Smith appointed Jade team captain along with Trinity. Trinity believes being a captain will help Jade grow as a player and teammate. 

“I think the coach is setting her up for success making her a captain this year and already experiencing that,” Trinity said. “Me being there, giving guidance, I think we’ll be set up for a great season next year.” 

Trinity believes that having her sisters on the team is a cool way to finish her career at Grady. 

“It’s definitely been cool having this as my last hoorah,” Trinity said. “I’m still glad to end it all with them on the court with me.”

Lewis has experienced this season in a much different way from the past. Instead of coaching Trinity on the court, he’s watching from the stands, taking it all in.

“I coached her throughout high school, and this was kind of the first time watching her play just being dad,” Lewis said. “There’s a lot of joy in seeing this and being able to experience it from this vantage point, but it’s also a lot of sadness because it’s coming to an end.”

Lewis relays his favorite moment from this season.

“One moment that really stood out was when they were playing Lithia Springs,” Lewis said. “The announcers were saying ‘at number 11, Briaiah, at number 12, Jade, and number 13, Trinity’ just to see all my girls all starting and playing was a huge joy as a dad to experience that moment.”

This story was originally published on The Southerner on February 11, 2021.