By Vern Hee
Lucero Hernandez, the 5’7″ junior athlete from Beatty is as tough as they come. One might even say as tough as a hornet.
The young player lives in Amargosa Valley and makes the long commute to Beatty to attend high school. She is one of the leading scorers and rebounders for the team and one of the reasons the Hornets keep winning.
Aimee Senior, head Hornets coach, feels Hernandez is a serious player who works hard at her game.
“Lucero is a great young lady. She’s fun when times are fun and she’s serious when she knows it’s time to settle down and get to work. She didn’t play basketball her sophomore year due to health reasons. She’s a good athlete to have on the team. Also, she works hard, tries to do whatever the coach tells her, and has fun. I can always count on Lucero to put a smile on my face. She’s a strong player this year and will be a force to contend with next year on the court,” said the coach.
Senior said besides tough play on the court, Hernandez has a lot of other qualities going for her.
“Whenever I see Lucero interacting with an adult at the school, whether it is the principal, a teacher, a coach, or any other member of the staff, she always has great respect for them. She has a great personality, sense of humor, and is well liked by all the students at Beatty High School,” said Senior.
The young player started playing basketball and other sports when she was in the sixth grade because she was into sports for the opportunity to play.
She has played softball, basketball and volleyball. Her favorite sport is volleyball. Hernandez describes herself as a tomboy growing up with two brothers, one older brother and one younger. In fact, she said the main reason she plays sports was because of her eldest brother.
“My older brother Ramiro played basketball for Brian Hayes, former head Beatty coach.
“He is my motivation and he is an inspiration to me because he was a good athlete. He played three sports, basketball, baseball, football and track,” she said.
Her brother has kept her tough in games. She credits him with improving her game and being like another coach for her, a personal coach. When she is at home and feeling lazy he grabs her and gets her to go out and practice more.
“He helps me to do better in sports. In general, he will help me to make my moves better and he tries to improve my shooting and he pushes me more. When I am at home lying around he will get me off my butt. He will tell me to get up and do something. He is always trying to make me a better athlete,” she said.
So, at home she is pushed by three parents.
“My dad pushes me to study hard. I am closest to my mother and she pushes me. My brother Ramiro pushes me and he goes to every game. He tells me what to work on. He is like having another parent. He is three years older than me and wants to go into the army,” said Lucero.
Ramiro has also kept her on track in her academics. She studies hard to keep eligible in sports and wants to go into nursing school in California when she graduates. Her brother has even talked her into possibly going into the air force.
“School is more important and sports motivate me to keep my grades up. I want to join the air force so I can go into the medical field. I want to be a nurse. If not the air force, college in California,” she said.
Lucero said her family came to the tiny town of Amargosa to escape drug violence and crime in Pomona, California, when she was only in the first grade. They moved out to Nevada because relatives told her family it was a safe place to raise kids.
Lucero feels the smaller schools have made her a better student and have given her an opportunity to play sports. She credits the small town with giving her more opportunities.
“The teachers at the school are there for you. They know when you are failing and they reach out and try to help. I know if I was at a bigger school that would not happen and I would not have the opportunities I have. I feel you just have more opportunities going to a smaller school,” remarked Lucero.
The young athlete makes the most of her time. At a young age, she juggles sports, school and a job. She said she works by choice. Lucero said she told her parents that she wanted to see what it was like to work and to make her own money. Most weekends you will find her working at the Longstreet Hotel and Casino, as a server at the cafe.
“My mother grew up with no parents. She pampered all of us. I wanted to know what it was like to be on my own. I wanted to toughen myself up for life. Mom and dad said throughout my life that us kids took things for granted. I now realize what it’s like to have money. I now drive and have a car and I am learning to budget my money,” commented Lucero.