It's been such an honor to coach her the last four years.Lady Rebels coach Brittany Lein
SPRINGFIELD — The spotlight didn’t shine directly on Brianna King on Feb. 7. The Effingham County volleyball star lovingly shared it with her maternal grandparents.
After signing a national letter of intent to attend NCAA Division II Piedmont College, King told a group of well-wishers in her school’s gym lobby that Barney and Priscilla Wilson were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for sharing this day with them,” King said as the audience applauded. “They show me so much support. They are always there for me.”
The Wilsons used to follow King to gymnastics meets across the region. She gave up that sport during her eighth-grade year in order to devote more time to volleyball.
“(Gymnastics) got really difficult,” King said. “There were like five-hour practices and it was all the way in Savannah. It just got too hard.
“I was painful to give it up, though.”
King didn’t play volleyball competitively until she got to middle school. She has played with four club teams since making the sport her primary athletic focus.
Her current team is Lowcountry of Bluffton, S.C.
“I like the competitiveness of volleyball,” King said. “In gymnastics, if you messed up, it was all on you. With volleyball, you have a team.
“I like having a team behind your back when things get rough.”
King also thanked her high school teammates, coaches, friends and other family members for their support during her career. She settled on Piedmont College about a month ago.
“I was very stressed out,” King said. “I’ve always wanted to play in college and I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m a really indecisive person so I’m glad it worked out easier for me.”
King, who plans to major in occupational therapy, likes Piedmont’s coaches and felt a positive vibe when visiting the school in Demorest.
“I love the area,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to go there. It reminds me of here.”
An outside hitter, King will join a squad that went 16-11 and placed second in the USA South Tournament last year. She is aiming to get some playing time right away.
“I’m working really hard,” she said. “I’m playing club ball right now and I’m trying my best. I want to get it and I think I can.”
Lady Rebels coach Brittany Lein has confidence in King.
“It’s been such an honor to coach her the last four years,” Lein said. “I’ve watched her grow as a player, a person, a young lady. I am super excited for the opportunity for her to go play at Piedmont.”
Lein offered a personal message to King during the signing ceremony.
“... Piedmont is extremely lucky to have you and I hope you are super successful there,” she said. “I wish you the best of luck.”
Effingham County Matt Huntley expressed satisfaction with King’s achievement and the Lady Rebels as a whole.
“We are excited about the program that we’ve got and the hard work that these ladies have put in during the last four years at ECHS,” he said. “Your hard work shows and allows you to go on to play at the next level and represent ECHS and our school. We are excited about your opportunity to do that.
“Congratulations. We know you will do great.”