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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Bradley's Quante Berry (00) shoots agasint Cleveland. The Cleveland Blue Raiders hosted rival the Bradley Central Bears in TSSAA boys basketball on Jan. 28, 2020.

Quante Berry could have gone the easy route.

But he's from a family of fighters, so a challenge was far more necessary.

At one point, he was on track to have one of the greatest careers in the long history of Bradley Central basketball. After all, he was the first freshman in school history to start a game and was an all-state selection in 2019-20. But he needed — rather, wanted — a challenge, so he transferred to Winston-Salem Christian School in North Carolina, where the type of competition he felt he needed to be game-ready for college existed.

He was already getting challenged by playing for one of the most well-known AAU programs in the country — Bobby Maze Elite — but at Winston-Salem Christian he was able to continue getting pushed daily in practices and in games during the school year.

Earlier this week Berry took to social media to make a public commitment to Providence University. His brother Norrance had taken a similar path, one that led him to the University of Rhode Island where he'll be a redshirt freshman in 2021-22. Norrance played the majority of his prep career at The Christ School in North Carolina before taking a post-graduate season at Scotland Campus in Pennsylvania.

It will be the first time in several years that the brothers will play in the same state, as Norrance left Cleveland before Quante got to high school. Now they're (sort of) reunited, with only 45 minutes separating the two in-state rivals.

"My relationship with my siblings is very strong," Berry said Tuesday. "My brother and I talk on the phone every day, and my sister (Nora) is right there at all of my games, so our relationship has always been really strong."

Playing in the Big East — still one of the top basketball conferences in the country — will be a challenge, but Berry feels prepared. He's from a family of fighters: Nora, who played at Cleveland, saw her college career cut short after finding out in late 2016 — when she was a junior at USC-Upstate — that she had lupus, a condition she still battles.

"The three siblings are so overly protective of each other," mom Quran Nalory said. "The thing about it that was both really good and bad is that the boys haven't seen the worst part of her being sick because they've always been gone. They struggled being away when she would have chemo or being away when she was sick, because they felt they could have done something if they were at home."

Nora has also had the support of a number of college basketball players — including Chattanooga-area products Rhyne Howard and Jazmine Massengill, both of whom play at Kentucky — who all have tattoos with the initials "PTLB," which stands for "Push Through Lupus, Berry." Howard also scribble the initials on her shoes.

Now both of her little brothers get the opportunity to finish the journey that she started.

"That's on our mind all the time," Berry said. "We want to take this (basketball) as far as it goes. We both want to try to be professionals. It was a long road, but it's prepared me because I have seen a lot of tough competition, a lot of future professionals."

The road has been long and won't get any easier. But based off the evidence, Berry is built for it.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.

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