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Athlete of the Week is St. Anthony's girls basketball player Sydney Taylor

St. Anthony's Sydney Taylor

St. Anthony's Sydney Taylor  Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

There’s no good way to defend Sydney Taylor. With the arsenal at her disposal, the senior girls basketball player for St. Anthony’s can beat a defender more ways than one.

Give her space on the perimeter, and she’ll pull up from 25 feet. Guard her up close, and she'll cross by and drive to the basket.

“She’s like a freight train coming,” Friars coach Hugh Flaherty said. “In her sophomore year, I could see that she had enough and was really working hard. She’s a scorer.”

Taylor reached a career milestone on Feb. 14, scoring her 1,000th point in a 68-55 win over St. John the Baptist in which she had 23 points. She had 33 points and made six of her first seven shots from three-point range in a 70-56 win over St. Mary’s the day before.

For her efforts, she is Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“It was toward the end of the game,” Taylor said of the memorable basket. “There was maybe a minute left. At the end of the game, all my teammates gave me a hug and I got a ball.”

At 5-10, Taylor doesn’t necessarily have the height of a post player, but she’s so strong that she can physically dominate opponents down low.

That’s one of the first things Flaherty noticed about her as a sophomore and something he constantly reminds her of now.

“Last year, she would take the three rather than go to the basket,” Flaherty said. “Now she understands I like the three the old-fashioned way. Get to the basket and get fouled.”

Taylor said she honed her three-point shot in the backyard playing with her father, and it’s easy to see why she leans on the jumper at times. With range from seemingly anywhere inside halfcourt, Taylor is always a threat to pull up.

The clinic she put on against St. Mary’s is just one example.

“I was in a zone,” Taylor said. “I think I finished 8 for 10 [from three-point range] for that game.”

Taylor will take her basketball career to the next level at UMass, a place she expects to contribute on the perimeter while playing against Atlantic-10 rivals like Davidson, Fordham, Rhode Island and others.

“I’m definitely going to expect a lot harder than high school basketball,” she said. “But I’m ready for it. I’m ready and can’t wait to try and help the team out.”

Atlantic-10 teams could soon learn that there isn’t a weakness to exploit in Taylor’s repertoire. Come too close, and she’ll drive to the hoop. Back away too far, and she’ll make you pay from deep.

Take your pick.

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