Last season Meadow Bridge head girls basketball coach Steve Taylor fielded a very young basketball team. This season, it looks to be more of the same for the Wildcats who lost two seniors to graduation last year.
“I thought I might be a year older, which in some ways we are, but it seems like we have an even younger team this year,” Taylor said. “I have one senior, one junior, eight sophomores and seven freshmen.”
While his team may be young, Taylor, who is heading into his 27th season on the bench, is quietly optimistic about his group this year.
“I am still hanging in there and having fun. I have a good group of kids that are young, but I think they will find their way,” Taylor said. “We have to light a fire under them every now and then, but they are a good group of kids.”
A big part of the optimism for Taylor has to do with his team’s commitment to get stronger in the off-season.
“With our flex days and our three week window over the summer, we have been in the weight room for parts of June and July,” Taylor said. “We had a great summer of weightlifting. There was a little basketball involved, but mostly weightlifting.”
Leading Meadow Bridge this year will be sophomore sensation Charity Reichard.
“Charity is back at point guard for us. She went to a point guard camp this year and was in the weight room all summer,” Taylor said. “She has great years ahead of her and I think she is an all-stater in the making.”
Taylor is also excited about several other sophomores that will compliment Reichard.
Sophomores Amber Stickler, Sierra Simmons and Mikea Neal will provide solid scoring outside on the wing, while fellow sophomore Alexis Cooper will be a force in the post for the Wildcats.
“We will start a really young bunch and we have a couple of freshman that are competing for spots,” Taylor said. “It looks like we are going to be able to play eight or 10 kids. We will also have some kids down on the end of the roster that will need some JV time.”
One of the freshman that Taylor sees great potential in is Kiersten Rozell.
“(Kiersten) is about 5-foot-10 and we have a lot of high hopes for her. She runs the floor well and can shoot the 3-pointer. She is very athletic and she is competing for a starting spot,” Taylor said.
Freshman Riley Roberts has been handling the ball with the second group for Taylor and she will provide depth at the point. Sophomore Abby Cooper will also get some time in the post.
“We just don’t know which five will start, but we have some really good players, Taylor said. “We have 10 players that are ready to play right now. They are pushing each other, so we will sit back and see who wants it.”
Meadow Bridge is no stranger to success over the years and Taylor feels the group he has now can carry on that winning tradition.
“We have a solid history of winning and making the state tournament. We hope we can surprise some people,” Taylor said. “We are confident, but we work hard. Being a small school doesn’t mean that we don’t have a good program.”