Taylor back to take care of “unfinished business”

Northwood basketball player Ellie Taylor and former Dow High All-Stater member could easily be well established in a professional career with Amazon. Instead, she focuses on what she sees as a more pressing matter.

And that business involves the sport she’s been playing since childhood – and that involves the sibling she’s been playing ball with for as long as she can remember.

“I thought about going there and getting a job. I had a job offer with Amazon, “said Taylor, a fifth-year player who already graduated with a bachelor’s degree but chose to use her COVID year of athletic eligibility to stay with the Timberwolves for. another season.

The thought of leaving, especially after the COVID year, was like something wasn’t over. And just the excitement of getting to the NCAA tournament and finishing third in the GLIAC (the year last), it was just like there was an unfinished business – like there was more left for me and our team, ”she added. “I’m just so happy to be back and love this team.”

Taylor especially enjoys playing with her younger sister, Maizie, one last time.

“It’s so special. Maizie and I have been teammates for five years between high school and college, and she’s my best friend, “Ellie said.” Not everyone can play varsity sports with their sister, so it’s really special. , and I think that definitely weighed in on my decision. I’m glad I did.

Maizie Taylor, a junior point guard, said she was “super excited” that her big sister decided to play another season.

“Obviously that makes our team so much better, but also, I can spend time with them for another year. We live in the same apartment complex, and it’s great fun. We see each other all the time, ”enthuses Maizie.

“… I always wanted her to come back, and I think she always knew she wanted to continue playing basketball,” added Maizie. “We weren’t finished after the way we ended the season last year, and we’re all super excited for what we can accomplish this year. I think I knew she was coming back.

After helping the Timberwolves reach the NCAA tournament for just the second time in program history last season, but after seeing his team fight mightily in a 55-42 loss to Truman in the first round – and after playing in largely empty gyms all season – – Ellie Taylor admitted it wouldn’t have seemed fair to end his basketball career just yet.

“Last year was fun and we had a great year, but we didn’t have our family (or our fans) in the stands. It’s so nice to play in that atmosphere, “she said on Saturday after NU beat Hillsdale in front of a big crowd at Riepma Arena.” I just think it definitely played a role in (my decision to to recover). I wanted to do a full season in a normal year.

“… Really, coming back to the NCAA tournament is one of our big goals. It was such a cool experience last year, ”she added. “And this is our last year of school in the GLIAC, so I think we really want to come out with a bang and have a race at this GLIAC Championship.

Northwood coach Autumn Haggadone said the two sisters bring some presence on the pitch, which makes the Timberwolves a better team.

“Ellie is a great captain for us and she has strengthened her leadership role off and on the pitch. In practice, she is our greatest voice. She always communicates, ”noted Haggadone. “Maizie struggled with an injury at the start, but now she is coming back strong. And it’s good to have it on point. She stays in balance. really good for us.

Ellie Taylor has admitted that she is generally not a vocal leader on the pitch, but she is adjusting to this new role this season.

“I have always been rated as a leader who sets an example, but I have definitely tried to grow more with my communication. My teammates and coaches kind of congratulated me on that and encouraged me to take on this role more, ”she said. “And with the departure of Kenzie Seeley, especially defensively, it’s a big step forward (in responsibility) for me.

“I have to be there to help the defense because we’re missing a big chunk; Kenzie was a great defender,” she added. “I just think leadership and defense are (two things) that I can step into, especially as a fifth year (player).”

Meanwhile, Maizie Taylor said she has fully recovered from a hamstring strain that caused her to miss the NU scrum against Oakland University and the exhibition game against Michigan State, and she’s looking to become more of a goalscorer for the Timberwolves.

“This year it’s really exciting to see how everyone in our starting XI and off the bench is able to post double-digit numbers on any given night,” she said. “I realize sometimes I have to be a distributor, but sometimes I just have to take the ball on my own and look for my shot a little bit more. There was definitely an adjustment this year, but it was fun.

“I think playing against great defenders and having to keep good players in training every day (helped me). Our training is so competitive, “she added.” And coming home this summer I got to practice against Ellie and against (younger brother) RJ and his teammates every day which is such a challenge, and it just makes me better. “

Speaking of the girls’ other brother – RJ Taylor, a Jefferson Middle School alumnus who helped Grand Blanc win a Division 1 state championship in men’s basketball in 10th grade last season – the sisters were beaming talking about their little brother. achievements.

“It was super exciting. He was a sophomore, and the poise he showed, and the way he stepped forward and punched big blows – it was fun to watch. He’s just a very solid basketball player, ”said Maizie. “… It’s cool to see him have that success, and we’re hoping we can have that same kind of playoff success, and I know we can. “

Ellie was quick to add that RJ doesn’t hesitate to show off his bling either.

“When he came to our game yesterday, he was wearing his state championship ring so he doesn’t forget that very often,” Ellie said with a chuckle, to which Maizie concurred, also laughing.

Looking ahead to her final season as a competitive basketball player, Ellie said she thinks this year’s team has something special.

“I think what’s so impressive and so hard about our squad is that we shot the ball so well in training and in our scrum and in the preseason and then we come out in the top two matches and don’t shoot the ball well, but we found a way to come back and close it. I just think it shows tenacity, “said Ellie, whose Timberwolves overcame a bad two-shot perimeter. occasions over the weekend to beat Findlay by 10 and Hillsdale by 9.

“In the past, we would have become nervous in these situations,” she added. “But I think we calmed down and showed a lot of composure, and it was a good test for us to prove that we can do it even when the ball doesn’t fit for us. We can always find a way. to win. “

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