Basketball Player Spotlight: Colton Taylor and Elizabeth Hutchens

Seniors+Elizabeth+Hutchens+and+Colton+Taylor+both+compete+on+the+varsity+basketball+teams.+%22I+just+love+the+camaraderie+of+the+team%2C%22+Hutchens+said.+%22There%27s+nothing+like+having+that+team+to+celebrate+wins+and+mourn+losses.%22

by John Park and Jesika Miller

Seniors Elizabeth Hutchens and Colton Taylor both compete on the varsity basketball teams. “I just love the camaraderie of the team,” Hutchens said. “There’s nothing like having that team to celebrate wins and mourn losses.”

Zach Jones, Assistant Editor of Sports and Copy

The gym lights beat down on the wood floor as the players pass the ball. One player races forward faster than everyone else, taking the ball and continuing his dribble up the court. In another game, a different player swats the ball away from the basket in defense. The ball is swatted into a teammate’s hand who runs it across the gym to the other net, making a basket. Senior Colton Taylor leads the varsity boys’ basketball team to victory in their games, as does senior Elizabeth Hutchens for the girls’ team.

Senior Colton Taylor is a point guard for the varsity boys’ basketball team and has played on varsity for several years; Senior Elizabeth Hutchens is a guard and post for the varsity girls’ basketball team who also found success on the volleyball team this fall. Together, these two students excel both in academics and in athletics, bringing their team to victory across the district and will clash against Kilgore this Friday at home.

“Watching kids figure things out, mature, and grow is my favorite aspect of the job [and] athletics is the ultimate avenue to see this take place,” assistant coach Derek Dukes said. “I feel the situations and scenarios that sports and competition presents you pull the best out of people and pushes them farther than they otherwise would be willing to go.”

Taylor has played basketball since he was young across leagues both inside and outside of school such as Upwards, Little Dribblers, and AAU. In these leagues, Taylor focused on improving his game with teams across the East Texas area.

“Colton is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever coached,” varsity basketball coach Chris Grotemat said. “Nobody puts in more work; he’s always the first one into practice and the first one to leave.”

 Taylor faced problems from an injury earlier this semester. Throughout his rehabilitation and healing, Taylor focused on building up his fellow cross country teammates and preparing for the upcoming basketball season. 

“Early this year I was fighting through injuries and had a really hard injury where I missed about three months,” Taylor said. “I didn’t know if I was going to get to play at all so that first game back was one of my favorite moments in high school.”

Elizabeth Hutchens grew up with a family of athletes, her mother having coached basketball and her brother playing for Lindale’s 4A State Runner-up football team. Like Taylor, she started playing basketball in the first grade.

“My mom was a high school basketball coach who coached at Lindale for two years,” Hutchens said. “She loved basketball; it was her passion and she passed it on to me.”

Hutchens played for the varsity girls volleyball team this Fall. With her teammates, Hutchens led the team to a bi-district championship and an Area playoffs appearance.

“She plays hard and is not afraid to get involved in a physical battle,” Dukes said. “She has no issue with getting chippy with an opponent or battling someone on the block and plays hard regardless who the opponent is and regardless what that opponent has accomplished.”