GIRLS’ PREP BASKETBALL: E’town’s Taylor headed to NKU

Elizabethtown senior Ellie Taylor will continue her academic and athletic careers at Northern Kentucky University, where she will be a member of the women’s basketball program. On hand for the signing were, front row, from left, Holly Taylor, Ellie Taylor and Chris Taylor; back, Madison Taylor, Elizabethtown coach Donnie Swiney and Athletic Director Glenn Spalding.

Ellie Taylor can make a lot of great things happen on the basketball court,

“You kind of control the court,” she said about playing point guard. “I feel like you get a lot of assists if you see the open person. It’s good to know when you see that person you pass to and they make it, you see that smile on their face. I think that’s the best thing that comes out of it, just to know that you can get them to smile that big.

“I love the plays we make. It’s not even that we practice the good passes or that one extra pass, it just comes to us. Those plays are the ones that we go, ‘Wow, we just did that.’”

The Elizabethtown senior will continue her academic and athletic careers at Northern Kentucky University, where she will be a member of the women’s basketball program.

“Making my decision was hard,” Taylor said. “I probably took a week, two weeks to really think about where I wanted to go. The pros and cons of all of it. I never knew where I truly wanted to go because I was stuck between two schools that really made me feel like home. That was the hard part for me. Now I can kind of relax, focus on what’s here and now and not what my later plans are.”

Taylor said her decision ultimately came down to Norse coach Camryn Whitaker, who is in her fourth season.

“She didn’t pressure me into picking or choosing when I needed to choose,” Taylor said. “She told me, ‘Take your time. Pick where you want to go. It’s your choice. I don’t want to pressure you. I’m not gonna be the type to pressure you into doing something if that’s not what you want to do.’ That really sunk in and showed that’s where I want to go.”

Whitaker played at Harrison County High School and Western Kentucky University.

“I love the size that Ellie brings to our team at the guard position,’ Whitaker said on the school’s website. “In my opinion, her best attributes are her ability to push the ball in transition and her passing ability. She has great court vision and makes everyone on the court better. Ellie also brings athleticism and can score in a variety of ways.”

Taylor enters her second year with the Lady Panthers after transferring from Bethlehem.

“It wasn’t really hard last season because I played with them during the summer,” she said of the move. “That got me used to them, warmed up to them to know who did what. It wasn’t as hard because of summer ball, but it was still hard to adjust to new plays, new coaching ways, things like that. It wasn’t very difficult to catch on and keep playing the game.”

Taylor averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game last year for the 30-5 Lady Panthers.

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” she said. “A lot of stress has come off my back. I’m really excited for this season. I think we have not a completely different team from last year, but a lot of changes have been made. I think a lot of good things are gonna come out of this season.”

One of those changes is Kayra Freeman in uniform. She transferred from John Hardin last season and had to sit out. Taylor and Freeman will share the point guard and off-guard duties.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “She’s very athletic, fast. She can get through you like it’s nothing, even though she is so little.”

Taylor had a goal to play college basketball.

“It was my eighth-grade, freshman year, when I started to figure out that I can do this,” she said. “At the beginning of my middle school years, I was just playing to play. But those eighth-grade and freshman years I was like, ‘I can do this. I can play at that level.’

“Playing AAU basketball, just seeing the better competition, was big for me. It was really important for me to play against those players because it showed me a lot of things. If you do strive for that greatness, then you can be one of the best players.”

She knows her role is more defined this season for the Lady Panthers.

“I need to be a leader this year, for sure. I’m a senior and that’s a big role,” Taylor said. “I need to make sure I keep my team up, not get down just because we’re down or whatever it is. I need to make sure I’m leading the team and not letting them down.”

Mike Mathison can be reached at 270-505-1758 or mmathison@thenewsenterprise.com.

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