By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
BIRMINGHAM — Taylor Terry doesn't need a state championship to cement her legacy as a member of the Holly Pond girls basketball team.
The senior would've loved to win one on Saturday versus Lauderdale County, but her mark was made on the Bronco program far before the Green and White made any trips to Birmingham.
The heart, the drive and the determination Terry poured into being the best possible basketball player, teammate, friend and sister were clear for all to see at the BJCC on Saturday. As the realization set in that she had played in her last competitive game for the school and city she loves with all her might, the tears were just too much for Terry to hold in — and coach Scott Adams could understand exactly why.
“She loves this team. She loves basketball. She loves the experience,” he said. “I'm 46 years old, and I can remember distinctly my last basketball game I ever played. I still remember Winfield and that dressing room. It stays with you. It's an important thing in your life. When you put so much into it, it's tough to let go.”
Terry didn't exit the court without first adding one last accolade to an assuredly packed rèsumè. The senior post player racked up eight points in the fourth quarter en route to a team-high 15-point total, while also contributing four steals, four rebounds and two blocks to earn All-State Tournament Tournament Team recognition.
The honor was nothing new to a competitor like Terry, who was named this year's Class 3A Northeast Regional Tournament MVP just one weekend before. She'll be etched in Holly Pond's history books as a 1,000-point score, one of the school's best-ever rebounders and as the back-to-back MVP and champion of the Cullman County Volleyball Tournament (2011-12).
“This girl right here is going to go down as one of the most decorated athletes in Holly Pond school history,” Adams said of Terry. “We're really going to miss her.”
Adams can still recall seeing Terry for the first time at a basketball camp he conducted when she was still in elementary school. Taylor, just a “cute little girl” he could already tell “had a little bit of talent,” attended the clinic with her sister, Haley, who eventually made a Final 48 appearance of her own with the Broncos in 2010. Now that both Terry's have passed through the program, Adams admitted he will not only miss the girls, but their family as well.
“It's an emotional time for her parents, too, because they have been so supportive of them both and pushed them so hard,” he said.
Taylor Terry was called up to the Green and White junior varsity squad as an eighth-grader and made the leap to the varsity level in the 10th grade when Alisha Keller, a former regional MVP, chose not to return for her final two seasons.
“Taylor had to step in and fill her shoes,” Adams said. “But I think it made Taylor the player to get us where we are now. The Keller girl just missed out.”
While Adams and Holly Pond athletics as a whole will miss Terry, it's Terry who will miss her coach, teams and friends she has come to know because of the sports she's played as a Bronco.
“We're just going to miss playing with each other, especially the seniors,” said an emotional Terry, pausing to collect herself. “We're going to miss our sisters because we're not just a team, we're sisters. We're family. That's probably what I'm going to miss the most.
“I knew it would be my last game played. It was the best way possible to go out in the season with this group of girls and my great coaches. I wouldn't want to spend it any other way.”
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.