Ballarat Rush’s depleted team marked an opportunity for rising talent Laura Taylor, who played her first South East Australian Basketball League game for the season against Melbourne Tigers.
The 17-year-old stepped up to help fill a void after a number of key absences in the game before the bye.
And the absences look likely to continue with import Courtney Williams returning to the United States, Ashleigh Spencer out of the line-up with an injured hand, Georgia Amoore spending time away due to national commitments in July, while Joy Burke was unlucky to injure her finger overseas.
“You don’t want your team getting injured,” Taylor said.
“For me, I was just happy training with them but thought if I got that opportunity I would be ecstatic.”
Taylor is juggling her year 12 studies with Big V commitments and being a development player for Rush, but said the challenge had been made easier with the support of the coaching staff.
She was asked to play Big V at just 15 years old after impressing in the Victorian Junior Basketball League.
Rush coach Eric Hayes described Taylor as a player who brought great energy to the team.
Hayes has previously coached Taylor in a lower grade with the youngster well aware of his emphasis on intensity and doing the little things well.
“I’m always pushing myself to show him my capabilities to bring the team up and be the communicating voice on and off the court,” Taylor said.
She was also grateful for her teammates, with many of the players having inspired Taylor to work towards SEABL.
“It’s like looking up to sisters,” she said. “It’s the little things, even like me being on the bench and them going, ‘Laura you’re doing a really good job’… the girls are amazing.”
Taylor said her next goal would be getting more SEABL games under her belt, while continuing to work hard in Big V competition.
“Basketball is the dream at the moment and I’d like to see how far I can go,” she said.