Algoma Wolves senior point guard Taylor Schmidt has gained more life experience in the last three years than most high school student athletes. As a sophomore, Schmidt broke all trends and earned the Packerland Conference Player of the Year Award. Typically reserved for junior and senior players, Schmidt appeared ready for a three year sweep of the award.
Not so fast. Taylor tore her ACL during her junior season during the Wolves' run towards another appearance at the state championships. The injury did not deter Taylor. Instead, she worked harder than ever before. Intense lower body workouts to get her knee back in playing condition resulted in a starting spot for her senior campaign.
Determined to lead her team back to state, Schmidt had an amazing regular season. Her 12.5 points per game does not tell the whole story. Aggressive defense leads to many steals, an unselfish attitude allows her to set up teammates for many open baskets every game and her trials have provided a state of calm allowing her to lead like she never has before.
As the regional tournament got underway nearly three weeks ago, the Packerland Conference announced Taylor had won player of the year. The honor was something Taylor will cherish forever, the senior said. It appeared she was headed to the top of the mountain again.
Just then, the news of her grandfather’s passing. Devastated, Schmidt had the support of her teammates. The entire Wolves girls basketball team accompanied Taylor to her grandpa’s funeral. Her teammates said her strength has been remarkable.
Taylor was disappointed that grandpa would not be able to see her last high school basketball games, but Schmidt had a plan. She took out a Sharpie and added grandpa to her sneakers. Writing a note on each of her shoes about grandpa has allowed him to be right there with her on the court during the sectional tournament and tonight at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Following last Saturday’s sectional final win over Oconto, the senior guard told WRLU that she had verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to play basketball. She said after losing her grandpa, she knew she had to stay close to home.
Tonight, Taylor Schmidt hopes her roller coaster ride brings her back to the top. A win this evening against Cuba City would set up a spot for the Wolves in the WIAA Division 4 state finals Saturday at approximately 1:00 PM.