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Bogan's Brandy Tarver (23) will continue her career next season at the University of Cincinnati. | Art Vassy~Sun-Times Media

Bogan coach Gary Bell gave his players five days off after they won the consolation title at the Montini Christmas Tournament.

Team captain Brandy Tarver wasn’t happy.

“I told him, ‘I don’t like this,’” she said. “Two days…maybe.”

Good or bad, Tarver isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She takes her role as team leader seriously.

“I’m very verbal,” she said. “I talk to my teammates a lot. I talked a lot even when I wasn’t a captain. I’m always trying to pick them up. But even when I say something if they do something wrong, they’re cool. They understand.”

Tarver’s family moved to the southwest side before her freshman year so she could be part of one of the top girls’ basketball programs in the city. She was on the varsity team as a freshman and has been a starter each of the last three years.

Her production has steadily climbed each year. She averaged about eight points and five rebounds as a sophomore, 11 points and nine rebounds as a junior and contributes better than 12 points and seven rebounds this season for the 13-2 Bengals, who are unbeaten in the Public League Red South.

But Tarver’s contributions go beyond numbers. She also sets an example for the younger players.

“She’s a big scorer for us, she’s an athletic rebounder, she’s our back-up point guard, and she’s got great leadership qualities,” Bell said. “She does a lot for us. She’s a hard worker. She never misses practice. And she comes from a great family, a very supportive family.”

Her family is not only supportive, but accomplished in their own right. Brandy’s father, Tim, played basketball at Fenger. Her mother Darlene was involved in ballet for more than 25 years. Her oldest sister, Courtney, was an athletic standout at Rich South and is now in graduate school at DePaul.

Sister Ashley will graduate from Wilbeforce University in Ohio this spring, sister Sydney attends Jackson State University in Mississippi, and Brandy’s brother, Timothy, is a student at Southside Occupational Academy where he’s “into sports” and participates in Special Olympics.

“Courtney is my motivation,” Tarver said. “She supports me a lot. I used to go to all of her games. She played volleyball, softball and basketball in high school and went to Howard University on a scholarship. Now she comes to all of my games.”

Tarver is as accomplished in the classroom as she is on the basketball court. This spring, she will complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, a prestigious and academically-demanding program offered by the Chicago Public School system for students in grades 11-12.

“It’s really difficult,” Tarver said. “The hardest part is all the work they throw at you. You write a lot of essays. It seems like every class the assignments are due at the same time. That and basketball are very time-consuming. But it does really help you learn how to manage your time.”

Managing time will come in handy next year when Tarver attends the University of Cincinnati on a full basketball scholarship.

“I’m definitely excited about that,” she said. “When I went on my official visit, I just fell in love with everything.”

But Tarver and her Bogan teammates have a little business to take care of first.

“Before the season started we felt we had one of the best teams in the city,” she said. “We have so many great athletes who are really dedicated. We want to get to the city championship game and we want to get downstate.

“We have to continue to work hard and not worry about anybody else,” Tarver added. “We’ll beat them when we meet them.”

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