Lake Norman & Mooresville

Sophomore wants to be her 'own player'

Bryanna Curry had great expectations before she ever took a shot for the Hopewell girls' basketball team.

The four Curry siblings - her older brothers, Brandyn, now the starting point guard at Harvard; Daron; and Tyrone had successful careers at Hopewell - have forged the family name in Titan basketball history books.

While Bryanna, 15, wants to live up to her last name, she is most focused on playing her game and making her own name.

"I definitely love my brothers because they taught me everything I know about the game of basketball," said Bryanna. "But I want to be my own player and earn my own reputation at Hopewell. I have to go out and prove that on my own."

Curry flew slightly under the radar as a freshman last year, when she joined a loaded Hopewell team that included three all-conference players in Sharee' Boyd, now a senior, Hannah Early and Hunter Meakin.

Curry blended in nicely, contributing five points and three rebounds per game in her first season and having a few breakout games, including 13 points and eight rebounds in an early win over West Charlotte and another 13-point effort in a late-season win over rival North Meck.

"Last year's team made things a lot easier on Bryanna, coming in as a freshman," said Hopewell girls' basketball coach Gary Richmond. "There was really no pressure on her produce right away. She had a nice year but didn't do anything spectacular."

A lot more is expected from Curry this year, with only a handful of Titans returners, including one starter in Boyd. Hopewell has big expectations after back-to-back I-Meck conference titles.

If Hopewell was going to be a contender again, Richmond and the Titans knew the 5-foot-11 sophomore would have to step in the starting lineup and immediately contribute.

"Bryanna knew coming into this year that we needed her step into that No. 2 scorer and rebounder role behind Boyd ," Richmond said. "She had some big shoes to fill and big expectations to live up to as Sharee's sidekick. Sometimes she has lived up to that and sometimes she has not."

After a strong start to this season, including 20-point efforts against state powers Salisbury and Dudley, Curry has struggled with her consistency and health once the calendar changed to 2012.

Curry has battled everything from the flu to a stomach virus to bronchitis in the last month, while also moving from the perimeter to inside the paint on the court.

While her season has been up and down, she has posted solid numbers. She averages 11 points, which rank her second behind Boyd's 16, as well as three rebounds and three steals per game.

"You just got to suck it up and play through adversity, no matter what it is," Curry said. "It was a tough month, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse."

Curry hopes her improved health will translate into a better performance on the court when it really matters in the final week of the regular season and into the postseason.

Curry and her team, which was tied for second place with Mallard Creek going into its game last Friday, are not only battling for seeding in the I-Meck tournament next week but also a potential home playoff game.

Curry hopes to expand her game and prove her talent going into a critical summer and then junior year, when she hopes to attract the attention of college recruiters. She also wants to get in the kind of shape that will allow her to take the role of Hopewell's go-to player.

"Coach Richmond is already getting on me more because he says I will have to lead this team next year," Curry said.