A hug for Amisha

Amisha Herd got a hug.

The 5-foot-3 Marietta College junior guard was embraced by Muskingum University women’s head basketball coach Beth Fox in front of the scorer’s table after the Fighting Muskies defeated the Kole Vivian-led Pioneers, 75-62, in an Ohio Athletic Conference rivalry game at Ban Johnson Arena Wednesday night.

Herd was holding a vase of flowers.

“Tonight was an emotional night,” Fox said. “Our girls definitely know a lot about Amisha.

“We knew coming down here (from New Concord) that there was probably going to be a lot of emotions on both teams.”

Herd hails from the Zanesville area, where she attended and starred on the West Muskingum High basketball team.

She was present in her warmups for the Pioneers’ first game of the New Year against the Muskies, but did not play. Instead, she rooted for her teammates.

Usually, when Herd competes on the BanJo hardwood, her older brother Sheyallen was on hand to support her.

But, sad to say, 22-year-old Shey was killed in a one-vehicle crash into a utility pole on Dec. 24 on Northpointe Drive in Zanesville.

Shey was a passenger in a car driven by Spencer Shrider, who survived.

The accident is currently under investigation by the Zanesville Police Department.

I didn’t know Shey, but I have interviewed Amisha after Pioneer games in the past. She’s bright, articulate, and smiles a lot.

According to reports, her brother had a similar personality.

Prior to the Pioneer-Fighting Muskies tip-off, a moment of silence was observed for Shey.

While Amisha lost a brother, MC sophomore forward Jo Herd-Middlebrooks lost a cousin.

Shey, a 2012 West Muskingum grad, was a prep football standout, who earned second-team All-Ohio honors in Division V with a Muskingum Valley League record 100 receptions in his senior season.

He was an employee at Kroger.

Before the fatal accident, Amisha did not have a tattoo. Now, she does.

To help defray funeral expenses, Downtown Tattoo in Colony Square Mall in Zanesville hosted a fundraiser for her brother Dec. 27. All the proceeds went to the Herd family. Just about every tattoo featured the No. 3, Shey’s football number.

Life goes on.

Amisha is expected to be back in action when MC plays nationally-ranked (No. 15) Ohio Northern University at the BanJo Saturday at 3 p.m.

Currently, she’s averaging 10.2 points per game and is third in the OAC with 20 steals.

The Pioneers need Amisha — and I think she needs them, too, during this trying time.

And, by the way, if you see her at the gym or on campus, give her a hug.

She’ll appreciate it.

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Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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