Leading scorer Switalski continues to improve

January 11, 2018

By Aaron Michell

This week’s featured athlete, Tashawa Switalski, started playing basketball about ten years ago, learning the ropes from her older sisters, Kimmy and Desiree.

These days, she’s passing down what she’s learned to her younger sister, freshman guard Hailee Switalski. And in the meantime, she’s helping lead her Marion Basketball squad to some key early season victories.

A junior guard for the Eagles, Switalski leads the team in scoring at just over ten points per game. She’s been a big part of early wins over Baldwin and Harrison, and she’d like to see the winning ways continue.

“Things are going really good; I’m really excited,” Switalski said. “We already have two wins which is more than we’ve had in a long time. I have a lot of confidence going forward.”

Switalski, who plays point guard and shooting guard on a young Eagles’ squad, has already noticed the difference in attitude between this year and years’ past.

“We were always really scared of Harrison – they were always a really aggressive team and we have a young team. But this year we just went out and had fun, and we ended up winning.”

Second-year head coach Matt LaGrow is encouraged by what Switalski has brought to the team.

“Tashawa has been pretty consistent with her offensive aggressiveness,” LaGrow said. “It has allowed her to get to the free-throw line a team-leading 33 times where she shoots 58 percent and is our leading scorer averaging over 10 points a game.”

Switalski’s teammate, fellow junior guard Katlin Booms, agrees.

“She’s a good team player and she’s a good outside shooter,” Booms said. “She makes sure we’re in the right position and that we know the plays. I’ve played with her since fifth grade, and she’s always helped me.”

Perhaps more important than any numbers in the box score, is the impact that Switalski has on her younger teammates. With a varsity squad that is made up of mostly underclassmen, Switalski’s attitude has already rubbed off on her future successors, including her younger sister.

“She’s a good role model and she helps me learn the things I need to,” said sister and backup point guard, Hailee Switalski. “She makes me a better player.”

“[Having her on the team] means a lot because she can help me on and off the court – she can help me at home with the plays, and she helps keep my spirit up.”

Tashawa enjoys having her sister on the team as well.

“It’s kind of cool because I know I can talk to her without having her take it personally,” Tashawa said. “Also, we can work on things at home.”

Hailee isn’t the only freshman who’s following in Tashawa’s footsteps. Fellow freshman and cross-country teammate Chloe Philo has been watching and learning on the basketball court as well.

“I’ve never played basketball with Tashawa before, but I’ve played other sports with her where she’s really good, and she brings the same energy, and she’s always really positive,” Philo said. “She’s a really good person to have on the team. She brings people up.”

As is the case with most good athletes, Switalski understands that there’s a lot of work yet to be done – both individually and as a team – to improve upon the Lady Eagles’ early success.

“[We need to] keep up our work on offense. Keep up the hustle. We need to work on our defense because that’s going to be a big part of winning.”

“Personally, I need to get better on defense,” Tashawa said. “I need to do a better job of being in the right position.”
Coach LaGrow is optimistic about Switalski making the necessary defensive improvements, and he’s also optimistic about his leading scorer making improvements on the offensive side of the ball.

“Tashawa does most of her scoring from the left side of the court, which obviously limits her, but is something she’s working to improve on,” LaGrow said.

“She is also working to improve her decision-making as to when to put the ball on the floor and attack and when to continue the offense. When she masters this balance, and continues to improve her decision-making, she’s going to be pretty tough to stop – which is exciting for our team.”

At the end of the day, both Tashawa and Coach LaGrow are encouraged by what they’re seeing from this young Eagles’ squad.
“I’m having fun this year,” Switalski said. “I’m really proud. I really enjoy my teammates this year – we have a lot of fun both on and off the court.”

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