St. Pat’s star off to U.S. on full-ride basketball scholarship

Jennah Taylor rears back to sink two points while leading the St. Pat’s girls’ senior basketball team to a 51-42 victory over Northern in the Lambton-Kent championship game in November. Bruce Smith, Special to The Journal

Troy Shantz

Basketball has been a way of life for Jennah Taylor.

The youngest of three sisters, the 6’1” St. Patrick’s high school star learned the game at a young age from her father, who played on the Ryerson University team in the ‘80s.

“We spent hours in the gym, and watching game films as I got older,” she said.

That hard work has paid off. The 18-year-old is headed to Ohio’s Ursuline College next fall on a full-ride scholarship.

Taylor, who plays both forward and defence, was an integral part of the Fighting Irish’s outstanding season. The girls went undefeated and won both the LKSSAA and SWOSSAA championships.

At the all-Ontario championships, St. Pat’s won its first two games before falling by five points to Kingston’s Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School – the eventual bronze medal winner.

Despite coming up short, Taylor says it was a successful year.

“I think we did really well… for a first time going to OFSAA,” she said. “We did a good job managing it.”

Taylor took an extra year to complete high school in a move designed to prepare herself physically and mentally for post-secondary school and basketball. Spreading out the credits meant a less hectic schedule at school and allowed her to dedicate more time to practice, she said.

“I love training. I usually train every day.”

Taylor was discovered by Ursuline College last summer while playing with the Toronto Matrix, a women’s travel team that attends tournaments around Canada and the U.S.

A visit in October to the Cleveland-area campus helped seal the decision.

“When I got there I just felt really comfortable. For me that’s really important,” she said. “I just kind of felt at home and I really liked it: the environment, coaches, the team.”

Taylor will study social work next year and plans to pursue a Master’s after graduating.

As for basketball, she’s open to where it may lead. Sport has been a tool for self-improvement more than anything else, she said.

“It has taught me how to advocate for myself, work ethic and discipline.”