Forbes sound performer for Lady Cyclones

By Kim Richardson
STAR Correspondent
krichardson@starhq.com

   Brandi Forbes is a true competitor, but she has little choice. Her eighth-grade sister, Whitney, is right on her heels.
   "I want to be better, and I sure let her know it. I want to be taller than her -- about 6-5 would be fine - and better in everything," Whitney Forbes said, not entirely facetiously. 
   Brandi's little sister then said, "Actually, she's really a great sister and a very good friend, and I've always been able to count on her. But don't tell her I said so."
   Brandi just can't win. It's more than just the sibling rivalry with Whitney. There's also her mother's brother, Teddy McKeehan, who starred in basketball for Happy Valley during the 1974 state championship season.
   And it doesn't end with Whitney and Uncle Teddy. Brandi's cousin, Lacy York, just completed her junior season playing basketball for Milligan College, where Brandi recently signed to play volleyball.  
   But don't shed many tears for Brandi Forbes, 6-1 starting forward for the district champion Lady Cyclone basketball team. She's more than held her own in the classroom and in sports since fourth grade, when she began playing basketball. She's on the student council at EHS and a member of the National Honor Society. 
   Milligan head volleyball coach Kim Hyatt expects Brandi to develop into a very good player. 
   "She'll be fine for us for sure," said Coach Hyatt. "She'll have to get a little stronger -- most of the incoming freshmen usually do -- but she's solid as a student and she's shown a great work ethic, so we feel confident in her abilities both on the court an in the classroom."
   "Brandi isn't worried about living up to any lofty goals. No, she's much too unselfish for that. She just loves the rush of competition," said her mom, Sherry Hunt, sister to McKeehan. "She could care less about anything other than seeing her team win."
   Whitney will attend Elizabethton High School next year, where she'll be reminded of what a great team player her sister was during her playing days as a Cyclone.
   "Brandi is one of the most unselfish players I've had the privilege to coach," EHS coach Mike Wilson said. "She really is the consummate team player. She's accepted her role on our team and improved in every facet."
   The Lady Cyclones will rely heavily on Brandi while challenging for the regional basketball championship that began on Monday. She will have to do so many things for the Cyclones to be successful, and do it all in near-anonymity.
   But that's all right with Brandi.
   "I want to win," she said. "I'll do anything to see our team succeed." 
   She played very well in game one, tossing in nine points.
   "I was a little more offensive-minded," she said. "I have to be ready to take what the defense gives me. I think that bodes well for the rest of our offense."
   However Brandi is about much more than basketball, and though she'd love to win the region, move on through sub-state and play in Murfreesboro, she's already accomplished much more than most might have expected. 
   "She's overcome so much," said Dave Hunt, Brandi's stepdad. "Really she amazes her mother and me, not just that she's so driven, so competitive, but because she won't even discuss injuries or ailments because she fears letting her team down.
   "That's how dedicated she is. She's regimented and has her head in the right place, that's for sure."
   When she's not busy with school, practice, games, etc., Brandi works for her parents' business, Electro Mechanical Assembly Inc.
   "She helps whenever possible," Sherry said. "Sometimes I think she expects too much of herself."
   Brandi not only plays both sports, but also enjoys helping youth basketball and volleyball programs.  
   But before all the talk and excitement about the Lady Cyclones and their run through the tournament, Brandi had already experienced much success playing volleyball for the Lady Cyclones, which is what led to her scholarship at Milligan -- well, that and of course her outstanding academic record. 
   Brandi only played two seasons of volleyball, but she made a pretty lasting impression in her short time. In her first year she was elected best offensive player. She made all-conference, all-district and all-Northeast Tennessee during her senior season. She's been invited to play for the Tennessee All Stars in Hawaii this summer.
   But there's still a chance for Brandi and her teammates to continue the current basketball season. The only question to be answered now is how far?
   "We'll take it one game at a time," Brandi said. "We just have to play as a team, pass the ball, play good defense."
   So when basketball finally ends for the Lady Cyclones, Brandi will probably find plenty to do before joining her new team at Milligan.
   "She loves to do so many things," said her mother. "She's very active, loves the outdoors. She goes hiking, mountain biking and just loves to travel."
   It certainly appears that there's a lot of travel ahead for this future Milligan College volleyball player, and she can hardly wait to begin playing at the next level.
   And if there's a trip to Murfreesboro and another to Hawaii before settling into college life at Milligan, fine. 
   But she can't sit idle. There's so much ahead of Brandi Forbes, a pre-med major who intends to continue on through medical school. 
   And if that isn't enough there are all the relatives who have been there before plus the one who plans to go one better when her time comes afterward. They'll be watching supporting and advising, even via long distance since Uncle Teddy lives in Florida. 
   The supporting cast and the competition are in place to meet Brandi as she works through college life and beyond. There are so many reminders of what lies ahead and what is to follow.
   She can see it as she watches York run the court at Milligan. She can hear it when Teddy phones from Florida, or when he visits his niece, like he plans to do when she plays against Pigeon Forge on Wednesday. 
   And if that's not enough she can see it while looking across the dinner table, to the pretty girl with the mouth full of braces and wavy red hair.