Young could emerge as season progresses

RANTOUL — Prior to Saturday’s varsity matchup with Fisher, Rantoul sophomore Tanaya Young could be seen tearing up the Bunnies in junior varsity action for the Eagles.

Young scored 23 points en route to leading Rantoul to a win before she trotted off the court with less than two minutes remaining to change into her varsity gear.

It’s not a bold strategy or even an uncommon one — to get an underclassman who sees key varsity minutes some extra time on the JV squad. It happens frequently.

But for Young, who finished with six points and three rebounds in the Eagles’ 39-31 win over Fisher in the varsity game, it could be the difference maker in seeing her emerge as one of Rantoul’s top players as the season progresses.

“The JV is young and struggling, so trying to make her a leader early on in her career is big,” Reed said. “Next year, she’ll be a junior, so making her that more vocal player that we need is huge. She can produce for us both ways, but she still lacks some confidence. I think putting her on JV to get that extra confidence booster she needs will definitely help her when she comes on varsity.”

The 5-8 Young was already a top contributor in volleyball as a sophomore, proving to be one of the area’s hardest hitters. On the basketball court for the first-year coach Reed, the athletic Young provides just as big of a spark.

“She goes from JV with that speed, and then I know she comes to varsity it’s a level or two up, so she turns her level up a little more,” Reed said. “And that’s what I’m looking for because next year we’re still going to have a younger group coming in, but they are pretty smart. If I have her down and get the rest on board, that’ll definitely help.”

The Eagles have five seniors on their roster, but they will return a core group of juniors and sophomores next season led by Young and leading scorer/rebounder in junior Myejoi Williams.

In Reed’s first season in charge, she’s hoping these Eagles can continue bonding over the course of this season and next as she attempts to build her program.

“Overall, I am proud of them because their team bonding has been a lot better, and I think if you can have that (bonding off the court), that provides a better atmosphere on the floor,” Reed said. “Relationships for them and their teammates is huge. You need everybody together. We’re just continuing to push each other and show positivity. That’s what I want to see. If we can get that down and then bring other groups in, it’ll continue to rub off on them from there. If you can get that going, overall we’ll be a better team.”

Contact Zack Carpenter at zcarpenter@rantoulpress.com and on Twitter @ZackCarpenter11.

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