HOLLYWOOD — It didn’t take long for the trio of Pierces – Shae, Burgundy and Todd – to make good impressions on the basketball courts at Hollywood Christian School.
Shae and Burgundy are firmly entrenched as the top two players on the girls varsity team, while their younger brother Todd has begun to make inroads on the boys varsity team as a seventh-grader.
Hired a few days before the start of this season, girls varsity coach Tremayne Fisher knew about the kind of basketball talent that the Tribe produces – he was an assistant coach on the school’s state championship team in 2011 that featured Seminole players – but he had been away from the program for a few years. He didn’t know anything about Shae and Burgundy. Upon his return, he quickly discovered how much the sisters from the Hollywood Reservation mean to the team.
“The first game [Shae] had 26 points. I’m like, ‘OK, she can play.’ As we got further into the season, I saw I had me a nice guard, a very smart guard, definitely an offensive guard,” Fisher said.
Fisher also gladly learned that Shae isn’t the only Pierce who can put up big numbers. Burgundy has blossomed into a consistent double-digit point player who handles a lot of the dirty work down low and is not afraid to step out from her post position and hit 3-pointers.
“Burgundy plays big in the post, rebounding and scoring inside, but she also brings her long range game. She can shoot the 3 really well,” Fisher said.
With two games left in the regular season, Hollywood Christian, with just one senior, had a 12-7 record. One of the team’s goals is to advance past the district playoffs for the second year in a row.
“The girls have more confidence in themselves this year. I think we’re going to go far. We’re doing pretty good,” Shae said following a game in early January. “This year a lot of girls stepped up and know their position and know what they’re supposed to do on the court and do what they do well.”
Offensively, the team relies heavily on Shae and Burgundy for production, and both players have answered those calls time after time, often while playing entire games.
Shae, a 5-foot-6 scoring machine, scored 46 of the team’s 53 points in a five-point loss to Highlands Christian Academy in late November. Less than two weeks later, the junior point guard poured in 37 points against SLAM Academy, and four days after that she dropped 44 points against Sagemont School.
In an early January game against Highlands Christian, Shae showed no nerves as she hit two clutch free throws with 18 seconds in regulation to tie the game and then forced overtime with a steal in the final two seconds. Hollywood Christian lost, 61-56, but Shae finished with 37 points. She made 11 consecutive free throws during one stretch.
Fisher said Shae accounts for “about 75 percent” of the offense and she excels in other areas, too.
“She carries a heavy load. Defensively, offensively, leader-wise; she just does a lot for us,” Fisher said.
Beyond the impressive numbers and leadership, Shae brings the kind of knowledge to the game that, in Fisher’s eyes, is like having a coach on the floor.
“I ask a lot of her, but her basketball IQ is really high,” Fisher said. “If I say something, she can really make it happen for me on the court. If I tell her what I want, as far as getting a layup or getting someone the ball, she does that.”
Burgundy, a 5-foot-8 forward who plays with skill and determination far beyond her eighth-grade status, has eclipsed the 20-point mark several times. She had 19 points in a one-point win against Sheridan Hills in early January.
Offensively and defensively Burgundy has a greater presence on the court than a year ago.
“She’s being [more] aggressive and she got a lot taller,” Shae said. “She’s gained about 3 inches in the last year. She’s being big on the boards this year.”
“She’s young, and I’m asking her to play major minutes,” Fisher said. “I like her intensity.”
Intensity is also a big part of Todd’s game, and it’s one reason why he’s earned promotions to the boys varsity level from the junior high team this season.
“The one thing we noticed about him the first game he came up was his heart,” said assistant coach Konrad Hyppolite. “His heart, his aggressiveness, his ability to not be scared or nervous in a situation, that’s one of the things we love most about him.”
No matter what level he’s playing and despite going up against some opponents five years older, Todd, a shooting guard, is not shy about taking shots, even in limited playing time on varsity.
“There’s not a shot Todd doesn’t like,” head coach Josiah Martinez said. “He’s one of those kids that if he’s in for five or six minutes, he’ll get up five or six shots.”
Todd, Shae and Burgundy come from a basketball family that includes their brothers Ty and Trewston Pierce, the latter of whom plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, and stepbrother Duelle Gore, a star for for Haskell Indian Nations University. As the youngest of all these players, Todd has plenty of time to develop. He still has eighth-grade and four years of high school ahead of him.
“He’s doing great. He averages about six or seven minutes a game. He’s probably the best shooter on the team as far as 3-point shooting. A ton of potential, great attitude,” Martinez said. “He’ll play six years of high school basketball. He’s only going to get better. We’re happy to have him.”