For the Smith Mountain Lake Christian Academy girls basketball team, there was a lot of uncertainty that surrounded this season: new leadership and a young team that still needed to come together.
One of those young players is sophomore Taylor Keep, who is one of many underclassmen playing for the varsity team and has been playing the game since fifth grade. She mentioned that last year was a frustrating year, but there was some optimism for this year. She knew with only one senior on the team this year, she was going to have to step up.
“We lost a few of our really good players from last year, and I knew I was getting to be one of the older girls. The opportunity was just there for me,” Keep said. “I didn’t really know what to expect with our new coach, but I still knew I needed to be more of a leader.”
Amanda Beverly, who took over as head coach, said when she took over that she told Keep that she was going to need her down low in the post and contribute down low.
Why does that matter?
Keep has always played point guard or wing position when she was younger, but she has embraced her role.
“She wasn’t fazed by it. She said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’” Beverly said.
Beverly mentioned that Keep has been “incredible” down low even with her limited experience, saying her shot selections has improved in the paint such as her jump shots, fadeaways, and layups.
She also mentioned that Keep has grown so much as a player with her confidence, penetrating to the basket, and handling the ball. She’s done a lot more than what her head coach has expected out of her. In fact, Keep leads the team in rebounds per game with 6.2, including offensive rebounds with 3.2. She also leads the team in blocked shots.
“I certainly think it’s a great spot for her, and she has certainly lived up to my expectations,” Beverly said.
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