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Senior Profile: Not down and out, but down under
Taylor Thomson is quiet when you meet her, although you might expect a bit of swagger when considering all she's been a part of.
The 17-year-old Orland resident is a senior at Hamilton High School. She has played varsity basketball for three years, volleyball for three and played a year of softball for the Lady Braves.
During that time she's gotten a good taste of winning, being a member of the school's 2011 section champion volleyball team, and being on a section runner-up as well as two champion basketball teams — last year's going a spotless 30-0.
But her quiet demeanor is a sort of zone defense she employs in her personal life.
"I'm usually very quiet until I get to know you. If I know you, I'm pretty outgoing," Thomson said.
She lists basketball as her favorite sport.
"It came naturally to me and I just love playing it," said Thomson, although like a fair share of basketballers, she admits to enjoying offense more.
She explained that basketball challenges her and her ability to communicate with her teammates. "It challenges me to play better, but if I mess up I'm really hard on myself. Plus you have to get along on the court, even if you're not getting along with somebody outside the court."
Thomson seems to have the emotional maturity to leave any outside distractions off the court, as she is averaging 5.5 points per game and passing out 2.6 assists as a point guard.
"We moved her up as a sophomore because we needed a point guard," said coach Mark Priano.
"She was fearful of doing it, but within 30 days she was glad she did it because she got to play with some of our older players."
The coach added, "She remembers our sets and plays, and knows where the ball needs to go."
And while her senior season of basketball may not have been as successful in the won-loss column, she won't need to feel down after the season ends, because she's soon to be down under.
Her love of basketball led to a unique and interesting opportunity. Thomson was invited to play basketball for International Sports Specialists, Inc. Down Under Sports in a two-day tournament in Australia in July. While the tournament itself is just two days, Thomson will enjoy a seven-day trip that begins July 15 — the day before her 18th birthday - and concludes in Hawaii.
From there it will be on with life, and Thomson's immediate plans are to work with special needs children in some aspect, although she doesn't want to become a teacher.
"My mom taught special education and I have a cousin who is autistic," she explained of her impetus to get into the field. "I'll probably go to a junior college and then transfer."
Priano said that Thomson will always have a special place in the history of Hamilton High sports.
"Her playing three years of varsity helped her come out of her shell more as a person, and (along with her teammates) she can always look up at those two banners in the gym and know she was part of the first two Hamilton championships in girls basketball."
Thomson was at a loss when asked to come up with her best memory of her years at Hamilton High, but given what the Lady Braves have accomplished, that's understandable. "The whole experience has been cool, and the teams I've been on have been phenomenal."
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.