Shaler girls basketball to lean on versatile senior Meg Lydon
Meg Lydon had a specific set of instructions during her freshman season with the Shaler girls basketball team. Lydon, now a senior, was asked to be a shooter.
Over the past three years, Lydon has expanded beyond her supporting role. Entering this season, the Titans will be counting on Lydon to showcase those skills and play a big part in their push for the playoffs after a two-year absence.
“Our coach said that’s what I was supposed to do,” Lydon said. “When Coach (Cornelious) Nesbit got the job, it gave me more confidence I could do more. I can get to the hoop, I can do more than shoot. He helped me get more confidence.”
When Shaler opens at the Ambridge Tournament, a number of players will need to demonstrate how they have grown. Lydon, who averaged 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, could be a blueprint for that growth.
Lydon is one of Shaler’s three seniors, along with Maura Fisher and Jessica Schmidt.
“I think she was told before she was just a shooter,” Nesbit said. “Now, you watch her game, she was a pretty good shooter. She’s more than a shooter. She’s a kid who will drive to the basket, a kid who will rebound the basketball. She has more tools in her toolbelt since her sophomore year.”
One of Lydon’s newest skills is being able to absorb contact. Battling through a crowd to make a closer shot isn’t such a chore anymore.
“It definitely helps when my shots aren’t falling. I can drive and get to the line,” Lydon said. “I can make layups, and that would help get me going. It definitely took time. I wasn’t used to going off the dribble and finishing off contact. It was tough going against bigger girls in the paint.”
The Titans want to find a way to make tough shots in the fourth quarter. During the past two seasons, the Titans recorded a 21-23 record, and Nesbit said he believes the team left more than few victories on the floor.
Sophomores Emily Cavacini, who averaged 5.2 points last season, and Meghan Lacey will be asked to help make some of those baskets. Sophomore Claire Grunden, who appeared in three games last season, will play forward.
Nesbit would like to see everyone play multiple roles.
“We’ve got some kids on the team that want to take and make big shots this year,” said Nesbit, who is in his third year as coach. “In tight ball games, the games we’ve lost the first two years, we’re confident we’ll win those close games because we have kids that have been there and done that.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.