Prep girls basketball: Sydnee Taylor leads young Skyline squad
The Skyline girls basketball team advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals a year ago, then saw a good portion of the squad graduate.
It's a younger squad now, but not with reduced expectations as evidenced by the distraught reaction from the Eagles after a regular-season loss to Murray last week. The Eagles had won 12 of their last 13 before the loss.
The burning desire to succeed is fueled by junior Sydnee Taylor, a 5-foot-10 swing player who can pop a 3 or drive into the lane for a pull-up jumper. She was the one Skyline turned to in the waning seconds of that 37-34 loss as she tried to work free for a shot behind the 3-point arc.
That kind of responsibility is something Taylor embraces.
"I don't think she'd call it a burden," said Eagles first-year coach Lynette Schroeder. "I think she rises to that kind of pressure. She likes to have the ball in her hands in the last seconds. She definitely has the confidence to make those."
Taylor, who has earned time on the Skyline varsity since she was a freshman, has been prepping herself for this role for a while. Though much of her time is tied up with games and practices, Taylor said no other hobbies or pastimes infringe on her schedule.
"That's what I do in my free time," said Taylor, who added that she has read the entire Harry Potter book collection in a departure from the usual basketball regimen.
Taylor, who is averaging 12.5 points a contest, is aiming to play college ball and stay in the state of Utah to do so.
But that's down the line. For now, she and her teammates are aiming high.
"We're shooting for state," said Taylor, undaunted after last weekend's loss to the Trojans, who were winless last season.
"We've been undefeated in region, and I think we just underestimated them, and they came out intense," she said. "Even though we're young, we're doing well, I think."
Schroeder, who was Skyline's junior varsity coach a year ago, is counting on Taylor to lead her teammates back to the winning path.
"She has it all," Schroeder said. "Offense is obviously her strength, but defensively she's so long. She averages three steals a game. She can rebound. She is quiet and thoughtful. All her teammates love her. She just kind of has that quiet strength where she doesn't have to be the life of the party or anything."