Playing roles earns time
Being versatile is a sure-fired way to get an athlete what he or she wants the most: playing time.
In basketball, a post player who can rebound, score in the paint and consistently step outside to can the three-pointer is guaranteed major minutes.
Just ask Forest Lake Christian’s Taylor Lawrence.
The 6-foot, 4-inch junior forward, who played sparingly after being called up to the varsity late last season, has carved out a niche in the Falcon offense thanks to his ability to multi-task.
Going into Tuesday’s home court matchup with Victory Christian of Carmichael, Lawrence’s 6.8 rebounds was second on the team.
The Falcons (5-2 Central Valley Christian League) made school history last season with a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V finals at Arco Arena. Teammates say Lawrence’s talents will be key in making a return trip.
“We’re not as big as we were last year. I think his rebounding will help us get to where we want to go this season,” said teammate James Belch. “He’s an all-around good player. He can rebound, pass and shoot, which is nice for a post player.”
FLC, after losing its CVCL opener to Sacramento Lutheran on Jan. 3, has reeled off five straight wins.
First-year Falcon head coach Davin Johnson said Lawrence’s scoring touch has played a big part in that.
“Three out of last (five) games have been his best scoring games this season. He scored 17, 16 and 14 points in those games,” Johnson said. “He can shoot the three, he gets a lot of tip-backs off of offensive rebounds and he also gets a lot of lay ups off the break.”
Whether it’s scoring points, rebounding, or passing the ball, Lawrence is happy just to help out.
“My role on this year’s team is to contribute wherever I can. If I get the open shot, I’ll take it. If someone else is open, I’ll dish the ball,” he said.
Lawrence’s ability to hit from long range also makes life easier on center Colin Harman.
“A lot of team’s see a post player out on the wing and don’t guard him. Then after he hit hits a couple of threes in their face, their forwards get out there. That gives me more room to work inside,” Harman said.
“It helps a lot when you have a big man who can shoot the three pointer,” Johnson said. “It’s extremeIy important for our post play for Taylor to bring a big man out to the perimeter with him. That’s going to open things up for Colin down low.”
“There’s no doubt Lawrence has an eye for the hoop, but it’s his heart for the game which makes him a standout.
“He’s a a very hard worker. He’s slow on his feet, but he makes up for it with his really big heart,” Johnson said. “He’s got great anticipation and that makes a great defender.”
For Lawrence, hustle is the name of the name.
“Hustle will make up for a lot of your mistakes,” he said. “If you hustle, you’re more likely to contribute. Plus our coach stresses that. If you’re hustling, he’s more likely to forgive you.”
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.