A HELPING HAND: Tolliver stepping up game, assisting others in the classroom
Published 12:03 am Thursday, November 13, 2014
Bri’Anna Tolliver’s Wednesday afternoon began like it always does, in the gym.
But instead of having a basketball in her hands, Tolliver held a binder with schoolwork.
The Vidalia Lady Vikings were in the middle of their weekly study hall, something that head coach Fred Marsalis requires from his team.
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“On Wednesday, those balls stay in the rack until our time is up for study hall,” he said. “No academics, no play. That is my philosophy. We certainly aren’t going to put basketball in front of academics.”
And that is perfectly fine with Tolliver, who prides herself on succeeding in the classroom. She currently ranks third in her class with a 3.9 GPA.
But Tolliver admitted that she wasn’t always on top.
“When I was in eighth grade, I wanted to get student council,” she said. “But I couldn’t because my grades weren’t good enough. So then I was like, ‘from now on, I’m going to make sure they are.’ Now, I’m third in my class. I like it.”
Tolliver, a junior, said her favorite class is math and that she has had some occurrences where her studies have helped her on the basketball court.
“Math is my special subject,” she said. “I’m just really good in it. I won first place in district for it at the state rally. Some stuff in math class kind of deals with basketball.”
Her knowledge has also helped her assist some of her teammates.
“A lot of girls look up to me,” she said. “They want to make straight A’s like me, and I like that. I try to help them and tell them don’t give up just because something isn’t going right.”
On the court, Tolliver plays guard for the Lady Vikings.
“She works hard and practices hard every day,” Marsalis said. “This is really her first year of being a starter. We’ll just have to see how it goes from there. She played quite a bit last year, but this will be her test.”
Tolliver will be facing another tough test, balancing her schoolwork and basketball, something she said is no easy task.
“You’ve got to be dedicated,” she said. “It is really hard. You go to practice after school, then you’ve got all this homework to do. It is your choice whether you do it or not. I choose to stay up and do it so I can have my straight A’s.”
Tolliver said that her studies and basketball keep her busy, but she does enjoy having a social life.
“I do have a social life, but when it comes down to it, I put my work first and then basketball.”
Putting her work first, she hopes will propel her into college, where she plans to study nursing.
“It is where my heart is, to help people out,” she said. “I can’t find anything else that I would rather do.”