April 9, 2014 11:04:15 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bri Edinburgh's patience paid off Tuesday.
Last season, Edinburgh was a third option in the backcourt behind standouts Kiki Patterson and Daisha Williams. While Patterson, who later signed with Mississippi State, and Williams, who signed with Northeast Mississippi Community College, paced the Lady Falcons in scoring, Edinburgh watched, learned, and waited.
All of the time Edinburgh sat and watched wasn't lost on her, as she vowed to make the most of her senior season, even if it was leading a young team hit hard by graduation losses.
Edinburgh, a 5-foot-5 point guard, made the most of her chance this past season, playing a key role in Columbus High's 17-9 finish in what coach Yvonne Hairston called a "rebuilding" year.
As one of two seniors on the team, Edinburgh did her best to lead the way, scoring 10 points and handing out three to four assists per game.
On Tuesday, Edinburgh's patience and hard work were rewarded when she signed a scholarship to play basketball at Holmes C.C. in Goodman.
"I have always wanted to play college ball," Edinburgh said. "Now I have the chance to."
Edinburgh said she first attracted attention at the Joe Horne Columbus Christmas Classic. She said it took her until earlier this month to find time to visit Holmes C.C. She said her confidence grew as the time passed and she continued to stay in touch with the HCC coaches. Still, Edinburgh admitted it was "overwhelming" to think she will play in college after one season as a key contributor.
"I knew this year was going to have to be my year and my time to shine," said Edinburgh, who also had an offer from Hinds C.C. "I did (feel pressure to perform). That is why I stepped my game up. I knew after this it was going to college to play ball or settling for work. I used that as motivation."
Hairston agrees Edinburgh had pressure on her to make the most of her last chance to impress college coaches. She said Edinburgh worked hard in the offseason and didn't shy away from the responsibility to lead the team.
"She is a great inspiration to the girls on the team and she really motivated them. It was a great season for her," Hairston said. "We stayed on her and stayed on her and told her she was going to have to lead and she just put us on her shoulders and carried us as far as we went."
Hairston knew Edinburgh had the potential to step into a leadership role. She also felt Edinburgh's quickness and shooting ability were going to help her contribute, and she was excited to see her respond before the season, so she was optimistic Edinburgh would get an opportunity to play basketball in college.
"Her character just stepped out there and said, 'OK coach, I can do this,' " Hairston said.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.