Taylor Klug helped stabilize Sussex Hamilton girls basketball team
Sophomore guard became leader after wild offseason
In an offseason of change, Taylor Klug had to be a constant.
The Sussex Hamilton sophomore guard learned in June that coach Dan Carey was leaving for another position, replaced by Bill Scasny in August. The school year had already begun when senior Mackenzie Latt, the reigning All-Suburban Player of the Year, relocated with her family to Michigan. The Chargers had gone from a team with state-title aspirations to a team without its dominant post presence and learning an entirely new system.
"I had to become more of a leader for the team," Klug said. "My role really had to change because we lost the inside part of our game. I couldn't just rely on my outside jumper anymore. It was hard for everyone because we didn't have the chance over the summer to get better and get used to (the new system) like most teams do. I think Hannah (Menzia, senior point guard) and I quickly assumed the role as leaders on the court and we made things work without the inside game."
Leading on the floor
She shot 44 percent from the floor and scored 14.7 points per game en route to first-team Greater Metro Conference standing, with 65 assists, 97 rebounds and 54 steals. The output was crucial in helping the Chargers finish 16-7 in what could have been a difficult transition year.
"We proved that there were other key players on our team, and the game opened up," Klug said. "Other teams had a hard time figuring out how to defend it. Our coaching staff had a short time to put in their new system. The team listened and trusted them which allowed us to pick it up quickly."
She already has a scholarship offer on the table from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where Carey is now a member of the women's basketball staff. She's also a first-time inclusion on the NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Team.
The Chargers finished second in the Greater Metro, one game behind Divine Savior Holy Angels, which tripped up the Chargers in a 52-50 heartbreaker on the road midway through the season. All but one loss this season came to elite teams, and Hamilton defeated an Algoma team that won last year's state title (defeating the Chargers in the regular season) and finished in this year's championship game in Division 4.
"It proved to us and others that we were capable of winning tough games and we could play at a high level against good teams," Klug said.
"My game improved so much with the help of an awesome coaching staff. The new coaching staff really helped open up my game and I feel like I am more controlled and smarter with the ball. Don't get me wrong, I will still make mistakes, but overall I think I've become a smarter player. I feel like my offensive game improved a lot this year. My pull up was definitely a nice touch to add to my game."
Working on her shots
Klug said she abandoned her floater this year, at Scasny's request, to hone her pull-up shot.
"Every time I would attempt to do a floater, I felt like I was a dog on a shock collar," she said. "I would hear, 'T! Do the pull up!' in the background. After a while, it just became natural and I can't even remember the last time I have done a floater."
Added Scasny, "She wants to get better. She improved throughout the season. One area she really improved on is her shot selection. She scored more but was taking less shots. Another area was seeing the floor and distributing the basketball. She really picked up our press rotations."
Klug also thrives for the Chargers soccer team and said both have been her passion.
"However, I feel right now that I would like to play basketball," she said. "I have been very fortunate that I have been getting many looks for both soccer and basketball at the college level. Receiving my first basketball scholarship offer by UWM last year was unexpected, and it was one of the greatest moments in my life.
"Next year, I am expecting it to be another building year and an adjustment year; however, we have a young team and we are going to work hard over the summer because we as a team have set our goals high to make a run for state these upcoming years."
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