Taylor Olson, a highly talented and focused four-year varsity player and a key member of this season’s very successful Dexter girls’ basketball team, is almost ready to turn the page on high school and start the next chapter of her life.
While the ink still isn’t dry on the District loss to Ann Arbor Huron earlier this month, Olson has moved on – kind of. She is preparing to attend Ferris State University and begin her basketball career with the Bulldogs.
But a loss like that after winning the previous 21 games you just don’t brush off. It’s not something you can tuck in the back of the closet and close the door on – at least not yet.
“Our season was a fight to the finish,” said Olson, 18, the daughter of Julie and Gary Olson. “I don’t think we were prepared enough to face their pressure and athleticism. It seemed like Huron couldn’t miss a shot and we unfortunately couldn’t make one.
“I think that every player gave their heart in the game but it really just came down to who was making shots and who wasn’t.”
The seniors on that Dexter team made plenty of shots during their time together and it’s only natural to get reflective when moving on from something you have known for so long.
“I’m going to miss playing with my seniors (my best friends),” she says. “I’ll miss spending every day together and all of the goofy things that happened throughout the season with them.”
It’s also natural to reminisce and take a walk down memory lane which for Olson began sitting in the bleachers with her sneakers in the car and her fingers crossed that she would get a chance to lace them up. Many great players have a great story to go along with their success on the court or playing field and Olson has a page-turner.
As the story goes, Olson tagged along with her mom to watch her sister (Jaimie) play with other juniors and seniors during a local high school summer scrimmage. The confident Taylor wore shorts and tossed her sneakers in the car – just in case.
Taylor, who had just finished eighth grade, was sitting in the stands with her mom when Dexter coach Mike Bavineau approached. He asked if she had her shoes with her.
Taylor “raced out to the car, had her shoes on and was ready to go in to that game before it even started,” said Julie Olson. “I seriously had no idea she was even thinking she’d get to play that day.”
Taylor got in and played quite a few minutes and impressed the Dexter coaching staff and it helped launch her varsity career. And she hadn’t even taken a class at DHS at that point.
Playing on a very good Dexter team as a freshman was an eye opener for Taylor and an experience she will never forget. First, there was playing with her sister Jaimie, who is now at EMU and majoring in business. Second, there was going to the Final Four your first year on the team.
“One of my highlights was my freshman year, going to Breslin and being part of a ‘Cinderella story’ for a little town that nobody had heard of,” she said. “It was really special.”
Other “highlights” included “being able to play high school varsity with the girls that I grew up playing with since second grade, watching them grow and develop as players,” she said. “Finally, in my fourth year, winning the Christmas Northville tournament.”
The Dreads defeated Warren Cousino in the finals of the Northville Tournament in December. Cousino defeated Detroit King 67-65 on Saturday to win the Class A title. King knocked off Huron 58-54 in OT in the quarterfinals.
Olson sacrificed her talents for the team as did other Dreadnaughts. Plus, Dexter had many lopsided games which didn’t allow the starters to play four quarters very often during the season. Olson still managed to average double figures in scoring and was the one player Huron was most concerned about stopping during that District semifinal game.
A lock to make the SEC First Team, Olson was recently named to the Class A All-State honorable mention. The only other SEC player to make the team was Cheah Rael-Whitsitt from Huron.
Olson, 18, will begin the next chapter of her life at Ferris State University. The Bulldogs gave her a full scholarship and a place she feels comfortable at both on and off the floor.
“In my recruiting process I visited many schools, but Ferris just felt right immediately and I really like the distance from home, the programs there and on top of that, the basketball coach is amazing,” she said. “We just clicked immediately and even better, I got to scrimmage with the other 2016 recruits and we just all played together really well. I feel honored that I am going to be a student-athlete at Ferris.”
Olson, who will enter the pre-med program at Ferris, hopes to “become a successful doctor in the area that I end up choosing and to work on living out my childhood dreams.”
Playing with her friends at Dexter was certainly a childhood dream. And it’s that kind of bond among players that Olson believes makes the Dreadnaughts so good in girls’ basketball.
“Over the past four years, we’ve been fortunate enough to have two groups of girls that had played together in Dexter from an early age,” she said. “Enough girls kept playing to have an impact on the high school varsity teams. Our coaches recognized the potential in these girls as they watched them and taught them at the Dexter camps from early ages.”