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Lights out

From the time she was seven years old Taylor Kilgore remembers spending hours laying on the living room floor, taking shot after shot toward the ceiling and studying the rotation of basketball as she smoothly flicked her wrist.

A decade later, she is still watching the way the ball comes out of her hands, but most of the time these days it’s as she runs back down the court after hitting what seems like an automatic 3-pointer every time she releases the ball.

But none of this is news to area basketball coaches. They’ve watched as Kilgore, a senior now at Forest Lake Christian, has hurt them with her long-range shooting for years. Kilgore has held down a spot in the starting lineup for the Falcons since she was a freshman – something she is quick to point out happened because she worked hard to achieve such an honor.



And now, during her farewell tour of the Central Valley Christian League, Kilgore admits she smiles every time she hears an opposing coach yell, “Watch out for No. 33 – she’s a shooter.”

It’s a title she had always wanted and one she and her father, Bobby, spent hours working to obtain throughout the years.




“I think of hitting a 3-pointer as being a dagger to the other team,” Kilgore said. “It can change the momentum of the game, especially in girls basketball.”

So by that criteria, credit Kilgore for being responsible for a truck load of momentum changing plays in the past four years. This season she is averaging 22 points per game, sinking around four 3-pointers a contest – all while the spotlight is almost solely on her this season.

As a sophomore, Kilgore and her teammates won the Division V California state championship with a team full of weapons. However, because of transfers, graduation, injuries and personal reasons, Kilgore is the lone player from that championship team still currently in the Falcons’ starting lineup. Something that has proven to draw a large amount of defensive attention her way from opposing teams.

“The team this year has become a Taylor-led team,” Forest Lake Christian coach Steve Kellar said. “She’s taken a lot of responsibility on herself. She’s taken every facet of her game and upped it another notch.”

And not only has she improved her game so that she can shoulder a larger percentage of the scoring load, but she is getting her teammates involved more as well with her improvement in the passing department.

Being a senior captain has always been a dream of hers and, according to her teammates, a role that fits her quite nicely.

“She is the core of our strength,” junior guard Jessie Clough said about Kilgore. “She brings so much intensity to the team and she’s definitely the leader.

“She inspires us to work harder.”

Kilgore’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed, especially on the national high school basketball scene. In 2004 she was an all-state selection and an All Game Sport All-American and before her junior and senior years was named to the Street and Smith’s honorable mention all-American team. Add Nike Top 100 to the list in 2005 as well.

Thus far, Kilgore is keeping her college plans tight to the vest as she sorts through her options. She doesn’t expect to make her final decision about where she will play collegiate basketball until April.

But until that time she has plenty to keep her busy. After Monday’s 58-55 loss with just seconds remaining against rival Sacramento Waldorf, Kilgore and her Falcons have their work cut out to nail down a fourth straight league championship.

And while this may be the toughest year on the court competition-wise for Kilgore since she became a Falcon, it may actually be her favorite.

“It’s been a really great year so far,” Kilgore said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team my senior year. We’ve had a lot of drama with our team (throughout the past four seasons), but we have different girls and our team chemistry is like its never been before.”

ooo

To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail stacyh@theunion.com or call 477-4244.

The Taylor Kilgore File

• Four-year varsity starter at FLC

• Member of 2004 State Championship team

• All-State selection 2004 & 2005

• Street & Smith all-American Honorable Mention sophomore and junior years

• All Game Sports All-American 2004 & 2005

• Nike Top 100 in 2005


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