Clintonville Coming into the 2012-13 CVAC basketball season, opponents of the AuSable Valley Patriots girls varsity basketball team knew they would have to keep their eye on point guard Meghan Strong.
What soon became apparent was the other scoring force the Lady Patriots had in their backcourt.
This season has been a breakout one for senior Taylor Saltus, scoring 109 points (15.6 average) and helping to lead the Patriots to a 7-0 record heading into the second half of the CVAC season.
“Taylor is a great offensive player,” Strong said about her teammate.
“We had a lot of seniors graduate and someone had to step up,” Saltus said. “We had to become a unit. I used to be scared to attack the basket; now it has become a habit.”
“One of the reasons we are 7-0 is because of Taylor’s play,” head coach Roger Long said. “She has been night and day.”
Strong has also had a good season, scoring 89 points (12.7) and leading the Valley with 10 three-pointers made while facilitating the Patriots offense.
“Meghan always gets the other team’s top defender,” Long said. “However, on nights when they put that defender on Taylor, then she is just as big of a threat.”
That was proved in the Patriots game against Plattsburgh High Jan. 9. The Hornets put CVAC star Marle Curle on Saltus as Strong connected for 21 points.
“She is someone who can see the floor, handle the press and make quick decisions with the basketball,” Long said about Strong. “It makes the offense flow.”
The two guards have also benefited from a new offensive system which utilizes the high screen and roll, a change that has taken place over the past two years from a post-oriented offense with the Alexis’s (Coolidge and Facteau) to the current guard play of Strong and Saltus.
“We have had to adjust with our personnel and go from a post game to a perimeter game,” Long said.
“It is nice to be aggressive in the backcourt and be physical with the screen game,” Saltus said. “It pumps the team up.”
The duo has also opened up the floor for their teammates, as Madison Rondeau (56) and Logan Snow (43) also average over five points a game.