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Central's Holley picks Lawson State

Toborsha Holley, a senior at Central High School, recently signed to play basketball at Lawson State Community College in Bessemer. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter | Tuscaloosa News)

TUSCALOOSA | Toborsha Holley will leave town to go to college, but she won’t be so far away that her friends and family members can’t watch her play. And her high school coach plans to drive up the interstate to see her in action.

Holley, a senior at Central High School, recently signed to play basketball at Lawson State Community College in Bessemer.

"It’s a big day for me," Holley said. "I’ve actually been planning to be in this chair signing a piece of paper to go to college since I was young, so it’s really good. I thank God for it all. It feels really uplifting.

"I’m very proud and blessed. I just want to thank all the people that have been with me — parents, coaches. I have a lot of support behind me."

Holley was The Tuscaloosa News’ West Alabama Player of the Year and a second-team Class 5A All-State selection. She was the most valuable player as Central won the Class 5A, Area 7 tournament title. She averaged 17.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists and made 107 steals.

"My strengths were being a shooter and bringing offense to the team," she said. "Defensively, we were together as a team, but as far as shooting the ball and being the leader for my team those are my strengths on the court and off the court. I had to be brave. I had to know if I didn’t shoot what would happen, so I shot the ball. It goes in, it doesn’t go in, you keep trying. That’s kind of the way I play basketball."

Holley said she was impressed when she made a visit to Lawson State.

"I liked the way they have their athletic system set up," she said. "Education-wise, they really put time in with their students. I liked the coaches, the team attitude. I just really liked the environment."

Holley said she hopes to major in business and eventually transfer to Troy, Alabama State or South Alabama.

Michael Rivers, who led the Central program the last two seasons, had a chance to coach Holley in middle school.

"If you had her on a scale of one to 10, I would rate her as a 10 with what she meant to the team," Rivers said. "She was the catalyst for everything we did from an offensive standpoint."

The 5-foot-5 Holley was versatile enough to be a guard or forward. When Angelica Weatherspoon suffered a season-ending knee injury during the 2012 area tournament, Holley took over the role of point guard.

"She was very unselfish," Rivers said. "She knew that meant her scoring would go down at some point in her career, but she was still willing to jump over to that position and facilitate others in the process. She was always a team player, and I think that was overlooked at times because she was such a scorer throughout her career. She could do everything that you asked. She would rebound when needed. She would make steals. She played great defense.

"She did not want to leave the state. She wanted to stay close to her family and friends. This kid is loyal. Basically, she wanted us to be able to see her. She’s almost like a daughter to me. I’m really going to miss her."


Reach Andrew Carroll at or at 205-722-0223.