P.O. Female Athlete of the Week: Molly Taylor
Mercersburg Academy senior Molly Taylor averaged more than 15 points per game in her two seasons on the girls basketball team, despite missing nearly half of her sophomore year with an arm injury.
But during the preseason, Blue Storm coach Katie LaRue approached Taylor about the possibility of changing from a shooting guard to the point, limiting her chances at the hoop.
But that hasn't stopped Taylor from averaging in double figures, all the while helping her teammates succeed in one of Mercersburg's best seasons since 2012 (16-8).
She is this week's Public Opinion Female Athlete of the Week.
"I definitely thought I was going to be a shooting guard after last year. Point guard is not exactly my nature, having to be loud and vocal. I like to lead by action," Taylor said. "But in order for us to be successful, that's where I need to be and I'm up for the challenge."
Taylor averages 15 points, nine rebounds and more than four assists per game, making her an effective point guard from all areas of the court.
"She's more of a two guard," LaRue said. "But she's averaging a lot of assists, a lot more than normal point guards. She has had six or seven in some games, and for a kid who hasn't played point guard in high school, she's done a really good job distributing the ball and being that point player, but also finding a way to score."
Taylor, who signed to play at Loyola in Baltimore next season, said the switch to PG can only help her future, with improvements in her ballhandling in pressure situations, and new skills as a vocal leader on the court.
"In end-of-game situations I like to lead the team when we need it most," Taylor said. "Handling the ball in pressure situations has been key at times, and being more flexible (in positions) and being more vocal is really beneficial because that's what they expect people to do at the collegiate level."
Now 9-2, the Blue Storm have a chance to take both the Independent Parochial School League (2-1) and the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (2-0) titles, with Taylor at the helm.
Mercersburg now has five players averaging more than seven points per game, with its top three earning double-figures on average, thanks in part, to Taylor's distribution.
"We are all-around better this season," LaRue said. "We don't have one kid scoring 28 points per game, and I'm happy to have five scoring more points. We don't have one kid who can win it for us. Any given night it can be anyone to step up and get the win.
"The team we have this year is definitely the best team we've had since I've been here," Taylor said. "It's really great to play among other players with the same mindset and the same goals. It's a family atmosphere on and off the court and I think that's why we are so successful this year. Especially at a boarding school, it's hard to get away from each other - we have to be like family."
Molly Taylor, Mercersburg Academy
Position: Point guard
Parents: Jane and Michael Taylor
Other interests: Taylor also runs track, and enjoys doing community service and watching sports. She also played AAU basketball for the Germantown Lady Panthers.
Interesting fact: She is an assistant coach for a U16 girls basketball team in England. Originally from Cranleigh, England, Taylor returns to visit family on breaks and coaches in her spare time.
Athlete most admired: Stephen Curry
Favorite team: Golden State Warriors
Statistics: Taylor led the Blue Storm to an IPSL victory over the Maryland School for the Deaf, racking up 21 points ... She also scored seven points against Wakefield.