NAPPANEE — Taitlyn Trenshaw knows there are a lot of eyes on her as the NorthWood girls basketball team tries to win a Northern Lakes Conference championship.
But the talented 5-foot-4 senior point guard has been ready for the increased leadership role, thanks in part to former teammate and current Saint Louis University sophomore Jordyn Frantz.
"I feel that it's not just the players looking at me for leadership, but I know fans and a lot of other people will be looking at how I treat my teammates and try to keep them calm during a game,'' Trenshaw said. "I learned a lot by watching how Jordyn played and seeing how she led and I'm trying to keep my leadership at that level. She was so determined to win and that's something I have in me, too.''
So far this season, NorthWood is 8-2 overall and improved to 2-0 in the NLC on Friday by beating Elkhart Memorial.
Trenshaw leads a balanced Panther team in scoring, steals and assists, while ranking second to teammate Savannah Feenstra in rebounding. She is a two-time All-NLC selection and entered 2016-17 as a three-year letterwinner.
"I really don't try to score a lot, it's just not my mindset,'' Trenshaw said. "I know there are other people on the team looking to score more, so if I can get a pass to them for a basket and build their confidence and make them feel that they're doing well, then I've done my job. I love pushing myself to keep everyone happy and make our team work harder.''
While Trenshaw's offensive statistics are solid, it's the little things she does that have helped make her one of the area's top players.
"I like the way Taitlyn has learned the intricacies of the game of the past few years,'' NorthWood coach Adam Yoder said. "I think she understands the timing of the game more, when to pick the pace up, when to slow it down and how to distribute the ball. Considering how much we ask her to do, it's kind of amazing how she balances everything and plays so well both offensively and defensively.''
While the offensive end of the court is fine for Trenshaw, it's actually the time she spends playing defense that she relishes most.
"I just love playing defense,'' Trenshaw said. "When I was younger, I was faster than most players and I was able to anticipate a pass and get a steal, even from the best point guards. Just being out in front of the defense and hitting a layup was a thrill, esepcially knowing it came from playing defense.''
For Yoder, having Trenshaw on the court both in practice and in games, makes his job a little easier.
"Taitlyn is such an intense competitor and she's really become our voice on the floor,'' Yoder said. "She's always going full sped and I never have to worry about her taking plays off in a game or in practice. When you consider her defense and her vocal leadership, she's obviously a huge part of what we do.
"Honestly, she's so competitive that she can be really hard on herself. But that's just part of growing up and becoming a great basketball player. Taitlyn has been a great asset for us and it's going to be very hard to replace her next season.''
Trenshaw's sister, Neely, after spliting time between the varsity and JV as a freshman, is averaging four points for this year's Panther varsity.
So, is being a vocal leader tougher with a sister on the team?
"It's fun sometimes and rough sometimes,'' Taitlyn Trenshaw said with a laugh. "I mean, she's a sibling and I don't think she really wants to listen to me all the time. But she's also my sister and I love experiencing everything we're going through with her.''
Taitlyn Trenshaw has signed a letter of intent to play at IUSB next fall with an eye on eventually training athletes in strength and conditioning. She says getting into coaching is a possibility as well.
"I wouldn't say no to coaching sometime in the future, but it's not my first priority,'' Trenshaw said. "But right now, I believe the training of athletes is where my heart is.''