Dorsey junior Heaven Halibyton plays on the Donnas basketball and volleyball teams (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Dorsey junior Heaven Halibyton is a dual-sport athlete, competing in basketball and volleyball. She has been on the varsity teams of both sports for two years.

She fell in love with basketball at an early age and by the seventh grade, she was competing in the sport. When Halibyton began playing varsity, she noticed how different the level of competition was. The skill of varsity play inspired Halibyton to work on her own game.

“It makes me want to play harder and want to practice more to get better,” Halibyton said. “So I can be on level with the older girls.”

This past season was difficult for the girls basketball team as both Dorsey’s gym floors were damaged. They were unable to hold formal practices. Halibyton learned how to make do with limited resources.

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“We just worked harder in our games,” she said. “Our whole team is new so we don’t really know how to practice with them.”

While the basketball season was challenging, Halibyton was proud of the improvements she saw in her game.

Halibyton is a forward on the Donnas basketball team and she is a setter and an outside hitter for the volleyball team. A friend of hers recommended that she try out for volleyball.

“She was like ‘you should play volleyball, it will help you stay intact with basketball’ and I was like ‘I’ll try it out,’” Halibyton said. “I found out that I was actually good at it.”

Her favorite part about volleyball is setting because she enjoys seeing her teammates hit the ball to their opponent’s side. Halibyton noted how volleyball helps her with basketball.

“In volleyball, you have to jump really high and that helps me with basketball because we got to get the rebounds,” she said.

When she is not practicing, she’s doing schoolwork. Halibyton admitted that being a student athlete can be challenging.

“You got to work … you got to practice after school and it’s hard to keep that,” she said. “I like doing my school work and studying and try to get basketball in between studying and homework.”

Halibyton’s favorite subject is history, she was recently learning about Black history in her class.

“I didn’t really know about much Black history until this year, so that’s exciting,” she said.

As a student athlete, Halibyton enjoys meeting new teammates and learning from their skills. She enjoys working hard and improving her game.

Outside of academics and athletics, Halibyton likes to play video games and spend time with her little brother. She wants to continue to play sports on the collegiate level.

“I just want to make a better life for myself,” Halibyton said. “My mom, she wants me to work harder for myself too.”