By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Taylor Anderson’s role on the Bonita High School girls basketball team is easy to define: do a little bit of everything and do it well. Anderson, a senior who will play next year at Loyola Marymount University, has done her job to perfection this season for the Bearcats and is a big reason why the school’s girls basketball program will play in its first-ever CIF championship game on Wednesday against Orange Lutheran at the Anaheim Convention Center. Tip-off is 8:15 p.m. (To continue, click thread).
“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Anderson of her role. “I feel like I just contribute by working for other players. I try to get to the ball so the other players can do what they need to do. I think we go through me for people to have plays.”
Anderson’s versatility has led to an outstanding senior season not only for herself, but for the team as well. With Anderson averaging 12.7 points per game, 9 rebounds and 4.3 assists, the Bearcats have posted a 28-2 record.
Sure, the Bearcats have other weapons. There’s no better point guard around than freshman Nikki Wheatley. Madison Zylstra is the best outside shooter in the area and the school’s all-time leading scorer. Brianna Kennedy is the best post player in the area. But if needed, Anderson can play any of those roles herself.
“Taylor can shoot outside, she can drive inside and as far as defense, we usually put her on the other team’s best player because she’s got long arms, can move her feet and block shots,” Bonita coach Darren Baumunk said. “It makes my job a lot easier.”
Anderson first played basketball at age 8 while in the third grade. She enjoyed it enough to play organized ball and landed herself a starting role on Bonita’s varsity team as a freshman.
With college scholarships rarely earned these days at the high school level, Anderson decided to play one season of travel ball. Sure enough, the move paid off and she will play at LMU next season.
But before she turns her attention toward her college career, there’s some remaining business to be taken care of at Bonita.
“Our team and myself, we’re all excited because this has never happened at Bonita High School for girls,” Anderson said. “As freshman, we dreamed of becoming CIF champions, but we never knew it was possible. Now that it’s here, it feels like we can do it. It’s so close.”
And if the game is on the line in the final seconds, Anderson is very likely to be the player Bonita turns to. The Bearcats haven’t had too many close calls, but Anderson showed earlier this season against Diamond Ranch that she’s ready if needed for late-game heroics.
Anderson hit the game-winning shot against Diamond Ranch on Jan. 24 to start Bonita on the 11-game winning streak it brings into Wednesday’s game.
“It would be amazing,” Anderson said of helping her team bring home a banner. “Just to do that for my teammates, it would be amazing.
“Starting the season, we knew we had to win, but there wasn’t much pressure. But it’s built up every game. There’s more and more pressure. We’re not just going to show up. We’re going to make a statement.”