Milestone in reach

Milestone in reach

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Milestone in reach

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Typical Mackenzie Taylor. Ahead of schedule.

And, right on schedule to hit a milestone soon.

Doctors told Taylor it would be around mid-January before she’d be rounding back into form on the basketball court following an ACL tear in the summer.

Fifty-plus points in the past two games suggest the Richmond junior moved that timetable up about a month.

“Typical Mackenzie. She’s going to do it when she wants to do it,” RHS coach Casey Pohlenz said of his high-scoring guard. “Her work ethic, it’s insane. She wasn’t going to let this hold her down.”

Nor was she going to let it slow her down as she makes her way toward pretty rare company.

Pohlenz said Taylor is just 33 points shy of 1,000 career points after she poured in a season-high 31 Monday night in a 59-47 win over Eaton.

Only a select few in program history have reached that plateau. Lisa Shepherd tops the list — and is the school’s all-time leading scorer, male or female — with 2,140 points.

Just three other Red Devils have made it to 1,000 in girls basketball. Lisa’s sister, Stacie Shepherd, is second at 1,926, followed by Angela Willis (1,225) and Monique Walls (1,048).

In more typical Taylor fashion, she downplayed the possibility of joining those ranks.

“I just go out and play,” said Taylor, who has verbally committed to Wright State. “This season has been kind of tough for me, just coming back from my knee. That (1,000 points) is really the least of my worries right now. I want to win NCC, win sectionals, have a great season.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the team.”

It’s a team that continues to improve with each game.

Richmond rose to 6-3 with Monday’s victory and has won two straight. The Red Devils also evened their North Central Conference record at 1-1 with an impressive 71-48 dismantling of Huntington North on the Vikings’ court this past Friday.

RHS plays Friday and Saturday in the Columbus North Invitational.

“I just feel that, as a group, they are really getting better and they are really starting to mature and get where we want to be,” Pohlenz said. “We take a lot of confidence (from the Eaton game). This is a big win. That’s a good team.”

Taylor’s minutes have increased since the start of the season. She netted 10 points in an opening win over Centerville, then scored another 20 as the Red Devils knocked off National Trail at Tiernan Center.

Taylor finished in double figures in home wins over Danville (10 points) and Franklin County (14), and scored 24 in last Friday’s road NCC victory over Huntington North.

“It’s feeling good. It’s getting better every game,” Taylor said of her knee after the win over the Vikings. “… I just have to keep pushing. My teammates have been helping me, coaches and my doctors.

“(My doctor) said I was looking really good (at my last appointment). He said I could keep playing more and he said if I’m hurting, then take me out. But if I’m not, then keep playing me.”

Added Pohlenz: “She’s the type of kid who is going to take a challenge. I think she took it like this wasn’t going to hold her back or get in the way of doing what she wants to do.”

Taylor averaged 15.7 points per game her freshman season, and 21.7 as a sophomore.

“She’s a great student. She’s just an all-around great example of what a high school athlete should be, and beyond,” Pohlenz said. “Selfishly, we get her for another year-and-a-half. Then she’s playing close to home (at Wright State).

“It’s been a blessing to have a chance to have a kid like her, and to have her for four years and really get to work with her and watch her grow as a person.”

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