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Troy's Roberson wants to rule on court, in courtroom
FULLERTON – Briana Roberson fell in love with the law as a young girl.
It wasn't because of some cheesy movie or a television show where every case gets wrapped up in one hour, although she does admit to watching "Judge Judy" on occasion.
She saw the law in action in real life. Her dad, Kenneth, a Stanford Law graduate, is a criminal attorney. On bring-your-daughter-to-work day, Kenneth brought his daughter to the 2nd District California Court of Appeal.
"I just loved watching the passion they all had as they were discussing the case and I was impressed by their argumentative skills," said Roberson, whose goal is to become a judge one day. "I knew it was something I wanted to do."
For right now, Roberson is meting out justice on the basketball court. Roberson is one of the top guards in the state and one of the leaders that has helped Troy (24-3) reach the CIF-SS Division 1AA quarterfinals. The second-seeded Warriors play at Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley tonight.
Roberson was a highly sought-after recruit, but she chose to accept preferred walk-on status at Stanford, which has one of the top programs in the nation and, of course, Stanford Law.
"I just felt like that place was the best place for me," said Roberson, who was being recruited by Princeton, Oregon, San Diego State and a number of other schools. "I knew that I could get the best of both worlds. I mean, preferred walk-on, walk-on, I feel like I made the best choice for me."
Roberson's mom, Felecia, a UCLA graduate who works as a federal investigator, said her daughter's fascination with the law definitely comes from her father.
"I think that influenced her a lot," Felecia said. "He did try to do it indirectly because you know how kids rebel."
Roberson said her goal is to be a lawyer first and then become a judge one day.
"I've just always wanted to make an impact," Roberson said. "I know that being a judge, even a Supreme Court judge, that would be so amazing. I would love that.
"The same way I want to go far in CIF and state is the same way I want to go far in my law career."
Roberson has already been through several ups and downs on the court.
As a sophomore, she helped the Warriors reach the CIF-SS Division 1A final, but they lost a heartbreaking game to Edison on a last-second shot.
"Oh my gosh!" Roberson said when recalling that game. "The feeling ... the feeling when I saw the ball go through the net ... it was just heartbreaking."
There was more heartbreak to come. During the summer before her junior year, she tore the ACL in her right knee while participating in the Nike Skills Academy. The injury forced her to miss the entire 2011-12 season and to undergo months of difficult rehabilitation.
"I've never seen a person work so hard through pain," Felecia Roberson said. "Sometimes the pain was so excruciating that she would be in tears. She just said, 'I've got to do this. I gotta get back.'"
Roberson did come back, and with a vengeance. She flies around the court and attacks the basket. She hasn't lost one step. She might even be faster, and she's actually been more accurate with her jumper.
Throw in a talented crop of freshmen and it's easy to see why the Warriors were expected to be contenders for a Division 1AA title and to make a run at state.
The Warriors came up short in some of their big games early in the season. The losses to Mater Dei, Science Hill of Johnson City, Tenn., and Santiago of Corona shared similar traits. The Warriors fell behind early and spent the rest of the game fighting to get back in the game.
That changed late in the season when Troy scored victories over Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly on back-to-back weekends to help them land the No. 2 seed in Division 1AA.
"I honestly think that we were just tired of losing," Roberson said. "We were tired of losing those games that are key, the important ones. I think we just understood what we needed to do and we just executed.
"We call it coming out of the gate with a killer mentality."
Roberson wants to make this season last as long as possible and she believes the final verdict will be a championship for Troy.