August 23, 2014

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Girls basketball notes: Taylor belts out lyrics, advice

Longtime fans will remember Deb Taylor as one of the all-time best basketball players at Admiral King and later at Cleveland State. She still ranks among the leading scorers and rebounders in the history of the CSU program.

Taylor, now the Avon junior varsity coach, has been inducted into the Lorain Sports and Cleveland State Athletic halls of fame. The Lorain hall lists her many achievements in basketball and volleyball, including all-state and all-conference honors during her four seasons in both sports.

Nowhere, however, does it mention that Taylor is an accomplished singer. She is, and you can hear her almost angelic voice perform the “Star Spangled Banner” before Avon home games.

In fact, she does a lot of singing.

“I sing in the choir at my church,” Taylor said after coaching the Eagles JVs to victory at Avon Lake Wednesday night. “I just love to sing. It’s a gift that God gave me and I love it.”

But basketball was her main focus at Admiral King.

“I sang in the choir in high school, but only my freshman year,” she said. “I was more into basketball.”

Force behind LaForce

Vermilion’s AuBree LaForce is one of the area’s premier ball handlers and for good reason. Her aunt, Connie Rummell, is a veteran former head coach who lends her expertise.

“She works with me all the time,” LaForce said after leading the Sailors to their first win of the season. “Every day when she comes up in the summer we work on it. I’m working on it constantly. I’m also in the ‘gym rat’ program and I’m in that every summer. I have the ball in my hands all the time.”

Falcons fly home

Two former Firelands stars were in the crowd when the Falcons took on Clearview in the Clippers’ annual Holiday Invitational Tuesday night. Teresa Davis, is on a short break from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, where she’s averaging three points a game as a freshman.

Former teammate Rachel Melendez, who led the state in goals scored in the 2008 soccer season, is home from Butler University in Indianapolis, where she’s a starter on the women’s soccer team.

Also at the tournament was Alex Wright, Clearview’s former standout post. Wright is now a student at Bowling Green. And you can catch Erin Phillips, former Falcon basketball and softball star, on the JV bench at most Firelands games.

If you want to see Davis in action, she and the Point Park Pioneers are playing in a tournament at Notre Dame College in South Euclid at 8 p.m. Dec. 30. Davis is also a scholarship softball player.

Keeping his chin up

Clearview coach Nick Dimacchia was disappointed after his team remained winless with its fifth straight loss on Monday. But he was not pessimistic.

“We’re young and this is a growing period for us and we’re going to get through this,” he said. “I’ve got a great bunch of kids. It comes down to heart and desire and maybe at this point we’re too young to have that. It seems like everybody we play wants it more than we do and that’s something we’re going to have to do as a coaching staff, figure out how to fix that.”

Whatever they figured out worked. The Clippers rebounded the next night with their first victory of the season.

Lorain has its day

Lorain High’s alumni day attracted a nice crowd of former Admiral King and Southview players last weekend.

The Titans set up a hospitality room for the former Saints and Admirals and introduced them before the varsity game with Warrensville Heights. Alumni from as long ago as 1975 took part. Among them were:

Alisha Nieves, Jillian VanWagnen, Sheral Robinson, Julia Francis, Marisol Torres, Shanel Melendez, Maria Nazario, Velencia Frymier, Tanitra Smith, Jade Blair, Anetra Williams, Miriam Engle, Tara Steele-Bayner, Carmen Atkinson, Stacie Starr, Shayla Wright, Dominique Higginbotham, Tasha Kimbro, Evelyn Hilliard, Ivory Smith, Mallory Holmes, Sharde Little, Shalandra Harver and Christina Jackson.

They got to see the Titans put up a one-sided Lake Erie League victory.

Getting their props

Speaking of Lorain, Maple Heights coach Ricky Watters said he thinks the Titans have strong potential. Maple defeated Lorain with late free throws on Dec. 11.

“I think they’re doing well,” Watters said of the team that combined players from the former Admiral King and Southview high schools.

“I think the coaches are doing a good job with them. They have some veteran girls who are very mature and know how to handle themselves on the court. You know, once you get that chemistry, everything else works out. It’s coming. They’re not going to have any problems.”

Lorain travels to Maple Heights for the rematch on Jan. 26.

Contact Daniels at 329-7135 or basketball@bobdaniels.info.