Louis’ return gives North a ‘difference maker’
In this Dec. 3, 2011, photo, Niles North's Taylor Louis looks to make a pass against Niles West. After sitting out the start of the 2012-13 season, Louis had a change of heart two weeks into the campaign and decided to rejoin the Vikings. | Stacia Timoner
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:42AM
GURNEE — A little more than a month after verbally committing to play volleyball at Marquette, Niles North junior Taylor Louis agreed to a different kind of pledge.
Louis, a junior, sat down with Vikings girls basketball coach Dan Paxson and expressed interest in joining the team two weeks into the current season.
Louis’ change of heart came after spending all spring, summer and fall telling people she wasn’t going to play basketball in order to focus on volleyball and her school work.
But after Louis ended her recruitment by choosing Marquette, the responsibility to correspond with myriad college coaches also ended.
With the weight of answering, in Louis’ words, “30,000 emails (from college coaches) at one time” off her shoulders, she convinced her mother that a return to basketball wouldn’t negatively affect her school work and then sat down with Paxson to map out her return.
Paxson spoke with Wildcat Juniors’ Club Director Karen Sonders and worked out scheduling conflicts, and then drafted a contract which outlined how Louis would keep her grades up and keep her commitments to both teams.
Louis signed the contract and then told her teammates she was back.
“They were just really happy when I came back,” said Louis, who stands 6-foot-2.
So far, one month after Louis’ first game of the season against Glenbrook North on Dec. 4, she has managed to balance two sports and her school work while also providing Niles North with a defensive anchor it sorely missed in her absence.
“She’s coming off one of the best volleyball seasons in the history of our school; she just has a winning attitude and competitiveness,” Paxson said. “She obviously adds a lot of shot blocking. That really allows us to apply more pressure on the perimeter.”
Louis blocked six shots in a Dec. 27 game against Lake Forest at Warren’s Blue Devil Classic and was an important reason why the Scouts shot 23 percent from the field.
She rushed many of Lake Forest’s shots and intimidated the Scouts’ guards when they entered the lane, Lake Forest coach Kyle Wilhelm said.
“(Louis) is just a difference maker on everything,” said Wilhelm, whose team beat Niles North 26-25. “She crashes the boards really well. Even though she’s not scoring, she gives them a lot of second-chance opportunities. And then, the blocked shots.”
Louis finished with two points as Niles North dropped to 0-15.