Sitting with longtime boyfriend Cardarrious Ray at the McDonalds on Viking Drive on Thursday, Dennisha Chambers munched on a double cheeseburger meal with a Fruitopia to wash it down.
That meal might not be on the training table of many elite athletes, but Chambers, a multi-talented Plain Dealing standout, looked little worse for the wear and smiled sheepishly through braces adorned with pink bands.
Because of her unique abilities on the basketball court, her superior performance at the state track meet, as well as her dedication in the classroom, Chambers is the 2013 Times Female Athlete of the Year.
“Dennisha is and extremely hard worker in everything she does and she set an example for everyone else to follow,” Lady Lions coach Sheila Bryant said. “All of our teachers liked her, and she was very personable with the student body. It will seem strange in the fall to start school without her around.”
A human dynamo on the basketball court, Chambers averaged an astounding 38 points per game as a senior and into the second round of the Class A state playoffs. Her abilities with the basketball were converted into a scholarship to Grambling State University.
“Dennisha is a very humble kid and a team leader for us,” Bryant said. “She’s one of the quickest players I’ve ever coached and she’s well-versed in the game.”
Despite getting a late start in track, Chambers competed in several events at the Class A state track championships, winning the triple jump with a 37-foot, 2.5-inch leap.
Chambers, whose top three for dinner invites are Kobe Bryant, Jesus and her late grandmother, Betty Clark, was just as tenacious in the classroom. She was the school salutatorian after compiling a 3.75 GPA during her high school career, and was awarded the Phillip Guidry Memorial Scholarship and the U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar Athlete scholarship.
Chambers began playing for Bryant as an eighth-grader but didn’t make it into the starting lineup until her freshman campaign. She led the Lady Lions to the 2011-12 Class A state title.
“She is certainly one of the best point guards to come through here,” Bryant said. “In addition to being a very good athlete, her attitude and work ethic is what helped her become better. She is a very unselfish person and that meant so much to me. Dennisha always played hard and made the others around her better players.”
Bryant also coached Chambers in track but said it didn’t require a lot of pushing to get her to succeed.
“She was self-motivated, and she’d say she was doing it for her granny,” Bryant said. “She had very good parental support and was never in trouble with her teachers.”
When she isn’t running, jumping, shooting or studying, Chambers sings soprano in the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church choir. She’s partial to Beyoncé and her favorite movie is “The Little Rascals.” Chambers is heavy into Instagram and texting, but doesn’t participate in Twitter so far. She was a Jamboree Queen, homecoming maid, football sweetheart and selected most athletic at the school.
“That tells you that she was very popular with the student body,” Bryant said.
She’s been hanging with Ray since they were in middle school.
“They’ve been the campus couple for quite awhile,” Bryant said with a chuckle.
And for a dinner out, she apparently likes the combined 670 calories and 34 grams of fat offered by a McDonald’s double cheeseburger with fries.