2012-12-20 / Sports
Senior leads Panthers’ scoring attack
The Newbury Park High girls’ basketball team prefers the “Give it to Taylor” offense.
Taylor Driscoll, a senior guard/forward, has been lights out from the field this season.
Driscoll scored a season-high 27 points in the Panthers’ 70-34 victory over Royal last week.
She contributed 14 points in the 50-36 win over Ventura on Dec. 8.
The Newbury Park team captain wasn’t known for filling the stat sheet before this season.
“She hasn’t been that type of scorer,” junior point guard Makenna Murray said about teammate Driscoll. “Now it’s like, ‘Give it to Taylor!’
Driscoll has been on the varsity squad since her freshman year, but her role has fluctuated between starting and coming off the bench.
This season she’s a permanent starter and is making the most of her opportunity.
NPHS head coach Darren Burge said Driscoll is the team’s most improved player.
Driscoll credits her development to her travel basketball team, the Simi Valley Vikings.
“My club team really helped me this year,” said Driscoll, who recently joined the Vikings. “I got to play with some of the best players in the Marmonte. I learned a lot from my teammates and coaches.
“ Now my shots are starting to fall, and I’ve been driving and getting to the free throw line.”
Driscoll’ s travel team included Calabasas senior guard Megan Charles, Agoura junior guard Kim Jacobs, and Royal standouts Sabrina Wiseman, Emily Garner and Brianna Reser.
The Panthers are off to an 8-3 (2-0 Marmonte) start and are favorites to win the Marmonte League championship.
Newbury Park, which is ranked No. 4 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A coaches’ poll, has cruised by opponents. The Panthers have won five games by 10 points or more this season.
“I want to go out with a bang,” Driscoll said. “We want to get that banner for the (section and Marmonte) championships.
“I think we have a good chance of getting it.”
Before Driscoll became a top scorer, she was known as an aggressive defender.
“She brings a unique set of skills to the court,” said Burge, a third-year head coach. “She’s long, she’s quick and she can guard the quick wing player.
“She can guard post players with her length. Taylor can also shoot the 3-ball and attack the basket.”
Driscoll hasn’t decided whether she’ll play collegiate basketball, but she’s hoping to attend UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo or UC San Diego in the fall. She plans on majoring in education or psychology.
The Panther is a teacher’s assistant for Christy Arnold’s secondgrade class at Sycamore Canyon School in Newbury Park.
Driscoll is taking four Advanced Placement classes and has a 4.1 grade-point average. She’s a member of the Key Club and Freshman United School Experience club on campus.
Newbury Park has an outstanding junior class, with Murray, Alex Brunk, Jesslyn Hutchison and Karli LaPerche.
The senior class of Driscoll, Brianna Lindberg, Alaina Baldwin and Bailey Van Ommeren isn’t too shabby either.
“The juniors are very talented,” Driscoll said, “but there’s no competition between (the seniors) and the juniors. We all get along and want to win. We grew up playing against the juniors during club basketball, but now we’ve been teammates for the last three years.
“I love our chemistry, and it shows on the court.”
Driscoll has played on travel teams with Lindberg and Van Ommeren since fourth grade.
The Panther said the team has high expectations this season, but Driscoll’s not feeling the pressure.
“She looks like a player that’s enjoying every minute of her senior year,” Burge said.