Basketball player named to Team Saskatchewan

By Phil Ambroziak

Meadow Lake resident Taiya Paylor doesn’t believe in giving up without a fight.
In spite of an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for Basketball Saskatchewan’s provincial squad last year, Paylor’s never-say-die attitude landed her in the midst of tryouts again this spring. Eventually, her perseverance paid off.
“I tried out for the under-15 team last year and made it to the final ranks before being cut,” explained Paylor, a Grade 10 student at Carpenter High School. “This year, I thought I might as well give it one more shot. It wasn’t until last week I found out I made the under-16 team.”
Prospective players from across Saskatchewan took part in a series of practices in Saskatoon earlier this month to determine the final roster. Each weekend session lasted four hours each day and, according to Paylor, offered an incredible experience she now hopes to take full advantage of.
“The coaching was phenomenal – I learned so much in such a short time,” Paylor continued. “I’m also looking forward to meeting new people and making friends on the team. We get to travel a lot, but most importantly I am looking forward to taking what I learn back to Carpenter and using it to help out my team next year.”
Paylor was a member of this year’s CHS Spartans girls team, who were crowned provincial high school champions at the end of this season.
“I learned a lot (with the CHS team) this year – the whole Hoopla experience made me a better player,” she said.
Paylor’s opinion was shared by CHS coach Carla Waterman.
“Taiya came in as a Grade 10 rookie and played very well all season,” Waterman said. “In the fall, she should be able to come back from this experience with confidence and she should certainly be playing at an even higher level.”
The summer season will see Paylor compete in games in locations such as Calgary and Edmonton, and as far away as Minneapolis, Minnesota to name a few. Her weekly practice sessions will alternate between Saskatoon and Regina, meaning there needs to be a strong commitment from both Paylor and her family.
“My parents have been very supportive and said they would drive me every weekend,” she noted. “I also have my driver’s licence, so I can probably drive to Saskatoon from time-to-time.”
Waterman said having such strong support is essential for any young athlete pursuing a sport at such a high level.
“This is an opportunity you really can’t pass up if you have the passion and the desire to do it,” she said. “And, Taiya certainly has both the passion and the desire.”
Paylor concluded by saying she hopes the experience will one day open up doors for her at the college level.
“Who knows for sure?” she said. “Time will tell.”

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