Shadow Creek girls different, but still a force on the court
When asked to compare this year’s Shadow Creek team to last year’s, senior guard Brooklin Brown’s response is direct, with a hint of understatement.
“We have a different team,” Brown said, “but it’s still a great team.”
Though a smaller team than last year’s regional finalist, the Sharks have not skipped a beat, going 19-2 so far and ranking sixth in the Class 6A Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state poll.
Shadow Creek lacks the size and strength of last year’s squad, but it apparently has mattered little.
“I think this year’s team is different because everyone knows they have to give more,” senior guard R’mani Taylor said. “Last year, we lost some really key players, which only forced us to all give more.”
Brown and Taylor are leading by example.
Brown leads the team in scoring (16 points per game), rebounding (7.6 per game) and blocks (0.9 per game), and is tied with Taylor for the team-high in steals (2.8 per game).
Generally a sharpshooting defensive specialist, the 5-foot-9 Brown has helped pick up some of the slack inside by often guarding the opposing team’s biggest player and doing more of the dirty work in the paint.
It’s not often the team’s best rebounder is also its best 3-point shooter. Brown is hitting 33 percent of her 4.6 3-point attempts per game.
“My role has changed a lot,” Brown said. “It’s pretty fun. I enjoy getting rebounds and blocks, so I’m liking it.”
Brooklin Brown Jersey #1 vs Katy Thompkins 2-27-2021 www.youtube.com
Taylor is second on the team in scoring (14.2 points per game) and leads the team in assists (4.6 per game). She is one of the team’s top 3-point shooters, connecting on 36 percent of her 3.9 attempts per game.
“I do any and everything,” Taylor said. “My team relies on me a little more than last year to be that go-getter, be that person that they trust, and they respect my role. So, even in bad games, I’m going to find a way to be productive, whether that is scoring, getting my teammates involved, or getting defensive stops.”
The Brown-Taylor tandem is a difficult one to contend with.
“The hardest part about facing us two is that we can shoot the ball from wherever on the court,” Taylor said. “There’s not too many teams that can stop both of us. We can also finish inside and place Brooklin in the post at times because of her size and height advantage compared to other guards.”
Point God \n\n2022 R\u2019Mani Taylor (Shadowcreek HS) - Immediate impact player - Available @rmani_taylor1pic.twitter.com/k8ktnGrOuN— IG:StevenLBarber23 (@IG:StevenLBarber23) 1640919758
Last year’s regional final loss to Cy-Creek left an indelible imprint on the Sharks. As good as the Cougars were, the Sharks went all offseason feeling they were their own worst enemy.
“We didn’t start strong that game, and had we had a better start, it would’ve been a great game throughout,” Brown said. “We probably could’ve changed the outcome, or at least made it a closer game.”
“You have to be mentally prepared to compete the whole entire game,” Taylor added. “You can’t get relaxed; it’s always go mode. This offseason, everyone put in individual work, and for returning players, they understood the new role they had to bring to the team to fill those missing pieces.”
As the season goes on, Shadow Creek is finding its identity. The defense is there. And while the Sharks are as fast as fast can be, they are adamant they can play even quicker and get better in transition, offensively and defensively.
They already have the drive and purpose.
“Every year I’ve been here, state has been the goal,” Brown said.
The Sharks like where they’re at, especially since Region III-6A seems wide open now that Cy-Creek stars Rori Harmon and Kyndall Hunter graduated and are currently burning Big 12 defenses at Texas.
“Making it to state this year would be such a huge accomplishment for my team and the school,” Taylor said. “Every year, we’ve gotten one step closer, so I believe this year is the year.”