A jokester on the sideline, Bradley excels on the court

Published 12:18 am Monday, March 8, 2010

NATCHEZ — Natchez High guard Keosha Bradley might be a fun-loving prankster off the court and during practice, but once she steps on the court for a game, it’s all business, which usually means bad news for the opposing team.

Bradley recently finished up a senior season where she averaged more than 14 points and five assists per game, all while battling a knee injury throughout the year.

Those numbers were good enough to get her invited to the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game in Pelham, Ala., on March 19.

Bradley also participated in the Mississippi North/South All-Star Game last season, which makes her the first Natchez High girls basketball player to participate in both all-star games, coach Sue Johnson said.

“She’s one of the best players to ever come through Natchez High School without a doubt,” Johnson said. “She could penetrate the lane, or step outside and shoot 3-pointers. Sometimes she’d even go down and try to be a post player. She could do it all.”

But while Bradley’s on-court skills will be missed, so will her personality off the court.

“She’s the team jokester and prankster,” Johnson said. “You never know when somebody is shooting free throws if she’ll sneak up behind them and pull their shorts down. She’ll also do some silly dancing and will get everyone cracking up. Practice will definitely be less boisterous next year.”

Bradley doesn’t deny the fact that she’s the team clown, and says she does it to keep her teammates loose.

“I love to joke around with my teammates,” Bradley said. “I always try to make the practices more fun. If my teammates are feeling down, I’ll try to get them back up. But when it’s time to get serious, I get serious.”

And that seriousness helped lead Natchez High to the State Tournament in Jackson last season and within a controversial two-point loss in the South State semifinals against Hattiesburg from getting back to the Big House this season.

But Bradley said being selected for the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Game does make up a little bit for the disappointing way the Lady Bulldogs’ season ended.

“It’s a blessing and a gift from God,” Bradley said. “It’s a good opportunity to show what I’ve got since we didn’t make it to the Big House this year. I’ve got to go up there and represent my school, coach and family. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

It is also a wonderful, but bittersweet feeling for Johnson, who will miss Bradley’s play and personality next season, even if she might have more disciplined practices.

“I’m going to miss her a lot, but I’ll probably have a less stressful year,” Johnson said with a laugh. “You love her to death one minute, and the next minute you want to pull your belt off and get after her. But she did a lot for the team and they depended a lot on her.”