Lady Buff energized

Melrose junior post Toni Burdine, above, said she looks to her sister as not only a role model, but also as a driving force to succeed. She has helped Melrose to an 11-8 record this season. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

Melrose junior post Toni Burdine spends most of her time organizing her many after-school activities. The 16-year-old Burdine plays on the volleyball and basketball teams, and is on the cheerleading squad. The Lady Buffs are 11-8 this basketball season.

You’re on the volleyball team, cheerleading squad and the basketball team. How do you manage your time and find the energy for all those activities?
Burdine:
I’m a very hyper person. (Laughs) I’m always happy. It’s hard to manage time between basketball and cheerleading. But I’ve always been active in school. I guess I know how to manage my time. I love what I do and that makes it easier to work hard.

Do you have a role model and if so who?
Burdine:
In sports, my role model is Diana Taurasi. She’s a great player and she gives it her all all the time. Other than sports, I’d say my sister is my role model. She’s six years older and I’ve always wanted to be her. But now I kind of want to outshine her. It drives me more.

If you could win either a volleyball or a basketball state title, which one would you choose?
Burdine:
It would be nice to have both, but if I had to pick one, I’d say volleyball. I feel I’m better at volleyball and it’s my favorite sport. It’s energizing and if I’m mad, I can take it all out on the ball and not get in trouble. It let’s me put all my emotions in the game.

What’s one part of your basketball that you need to work on?
Burdine:
Probably my defense because our pride is in our defense, and you can always get better. You have to learn to get down and I’m kind of slower and I have to worker harder at it.

What’s the chemistry on the team like?
Burdine:
We’ve all been playing together since third or fourth grade. It’s more like a family. When someone’s down, you know that they’re there for you. If someone has a bad game, we encourage them.

Are you a very competitive person? And is it hard to keep quiet if you feel a referee made a bad call?
Burdine:
I’m very competitive. There’s three or four posts on our team and I fight for my position. If we do shooting games, we keep count to see who’s up.
It’s hard for me to walk away if a ref makes a bad call. It’s hard for me because I’m a talkative person, and I can’t go up to them and say ‘What was that about?’

Coaches comments: “(Toni) brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” Melrose coach Jason Lee said. “She’s intense, a great rebounder and hard worker, and she’s fun to be around.”

Take 5 is a weekly feature compiled by CNJ Sports Writer Greg Price. He can be reached at 763-6991 or by e-mail at: greg_price@link.freedom.com