We’ve been hearing for two years now about the underclassmen at Central DeWitt High School – Allie Meadows and Taylor Veach – who have brought the girls’ basketball program to the next level.
And that’s completely true. There are just a lot more pieces to the puzzle.
Veach and Meadows would be the first to admit – they can’t do it alone.
“We can’t do it by ourselves,” Veach said. “We need a team and everyone is really stepping into their role. That’s helped a lot with our team.”
One of those puzzle pieces is junior Talbot Kinney. Kinney serves as one of the guards for the No. 10 ranked Sabers, and she’s flourished in her role this year.
“I think as a team, we’re really accepting our roles,” Kinney said. “We know they can’t do it all themselves, especially when we play the good teams.”
Kinney is a shot put standout and state champion, a volleyball stat leader, and the catcher on a talented Saber softball team. Catching, along with the fact that she played point guard when she was younger, has given her exceptional court vision.
That’s helped her find Veach and Meadows, and why she’s the team’s assist leader.
“We’ve worked on those roles a lot, especially with knowing where Taylor and Allie are,” Kinney said. “That helps with our team chemistry.”
She’s perfectly capable of stepping up and getting the ball to the rim, too. She’s averaging about five points a game, but can explode for double digits, her season high being 11 points against South Tama.
It’s something the Sabers may need more of as teams continue to key on Veach and Meadows.
“Coaches have been on me a lot to be more offensive minded,” Kinney said. “I’ve been a more defensive player. We need to step up and score, too. We need to put pressure on their defense by being an offensive threat.”
And the more of a threat Kinney is to score, the more opportunities she’ll find to pass.
“We’ve worked on it a lot, drive to the basket and dishing to our shooters,” Kinney said.
She joins a fairly short roster, with Veach’s 5-11 frame making up the height. Kinney herself wasn’t gifted height like her 6-04 brother. She stands at 5-09, meaning she has to find other ways to score.
She does that by being a smart basketball player. She has just 20 turnovers in 14 games, despite handling the ball quite a bit.
“I’m not fast, but I’m not slow. I really focus on what I have ... and we really use our basketball IQ and smart decisions.”
The Sabers have just one loss so far this season, ranking in the top ten in Class 4A. Their only loss was a 49-47 barn-burner loss to Center Point-Urbana – a game that could have gone either way.
They’re focused on the experience gained from that loss. With everyone fitting nicely into their roles as the season progresses, the prospect of the Sabers moving up the rankings gets higher and higher.
“We’re hoping that the experience we get from close games, like the CPU game, will get us to the point where we can win those tough games,” Kinney said.
The Sabers return to action on Friday, welcoming Mount Vernon to their home court.