In Class 1A girls hoops, the Malone Lady Tigers are off to a good start, sitting in 2nd in District 1. Senior Curteeona Brelove is the undeniable leader for Malone, and for her, basketball always just been the natural thing to do, and at 6'2 inches tall, she's a presence that more times then not, can't be stopped.
"She's basically the meat and potatoes of the whole team," said Head Coach Preston Roberts. "We go as Curteeona Brelove, #34 in the blue, orange, and white goes. If she dominates, we dominate. If she doesn't dominate, it's a long night for everybody. Lately, she's been doing what she needs to do to get the team going in the right direction."
Doing what she needs to do includes scoring nearly 23 points and grabbing 10 boards per game.
"Last year, everyone was like, you have the potential to be better then you are," she said. "Most people thought last year I was just giving them some and not all of it. My summer coach told me I have the potential to be the greatest player. He said if you're not leaving it all on the court, then why play?"
That work ethic wasn't missed by college coaches, as last month, Curteeona inked with Virginia Commonwealth- a school where she'll have a chance to compete for immediate playing time.
"A kid from a small town like Malone you wouldn't think would go to the city," laughed Coach Roberts. "A country girl going to the city?!"
"It was like going to another planet! I'm used to trees and fields," said Curteeona. "Everybody is like, oh you're going a long way away. You're going to be away from everybody. I said hopefully, it'll be better then what it sounds like."
That country girl is used to adapting, as balancing basketball and books is something she's had to get used to, and she's done it well- sporting a 3.45 GPA.
"In order to get in between these four lines, you have to get it in between those four walls," said Coach Roberts. Just like she puts in the work out here, she puts in the work up there. We're very proud of her."
"They told me from the beginning, you can't play if you don't have the grades," Curteeona agreed. "It's easy for me to maintain. I'm used to doing multiple things at multiple times. It's pretty much, it comes naturally."
As natural for Curteeona as shooting some hoops. Curteeona says she plans on studying Recreational Therapy at VCU.