By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports Sports
One Waxahachie and Southwestern Assemblies of God University alumna has been officially tasked with leading a highly-populated and upstart girls’ basketball program into its very first season.
Belton ISD made the announcement of Taylor Hill, a 2012 Waxahachie and 2016 SAGU graduate, as the first-ever Lake Belton head girls’ basketball coach on Tuesday. Hill most recently served as the head girls’ basketball coach at Class 2A Riesel, which came after two seasons as an assistant coach at SAGU.
“I am extremely honored and excited to begin this new journey at Lake Belton High School as the new head girls basketball coach,” stated Hill in the BISD press release. “I can’t wait to get to work and instill hard work, passion, and energy into the athletic program. Go, Broncos!”
Hill obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration while attending and starring at point guard at SAGU.
Hill ultimately averaged 10.1 points, 2.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game over her four-year SAGU career. She averaged over 11.1 points per game during her freshman and senior seasons, which included a career-best 355 points over 32 games in 2015-16 to put her over the 1,000-point plateau.
Hill shot 34.3% from the field and 29.7% from three-point land as a Lady Lion.
Coaches within the NAIA Sooner Athletic Conference selected Hill as an all-conference member each of her four years at SAGU. Hill was also twice named an NAIA Academic All-American and twice honored with the SAC Sportsmanship Award.
According to a SAGU press release, a student-athlete must display each of the five NAIA core values — integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership — in order to receive the SAC Sportsmanship Award. The servant leadership box was checked each year that Hill assisted her grandmother, Mickie Hill, and the Waxahachie Rotary Club with their “Operation First Day of School” book collecting endeavors.
At the time of her SAC Sportsmanship Award, SAGU head girls’ basketball coach Tiffany Phillips told SAGU Athletics that “no one is more deserving” of the award than Hill.
“She is an extremely hard worker both on and off the court,” Phillips continued. “She is a great teammate, always encouraging and is always positive and I could not be more proud of all that she has accomplished. […] She has a very bright future and I am proud that I was able to be her coach.”
Phillips went on to hire Hill as an assistant coach ahead of the 2016-17 season, telling the Waxahachie Daily Light that the hire was a “no-brainer” and noting that “it’s something she will excel at because of her personality and the way she works.”
After accepting the role as an assistant coach for the NAIA hoops program, Hill told the Daily Light that her sister, Jaime Duke, provided the final role-model assurance that her career path would lead to coaching.
Duke coached under now-retired and eventual Waxahachie ISD Athletics Hall-of-Fame head girls’ basketball coach, Lesli Priebe. One of those seasons just so happened to be Hill’s senior campaign as a Lady Indian.
Hill will now take office at Lake Belton High, which will be a first-year high school in the 2020-21 school year.
The soon-to-be-opened school is located in Temple, a campus that Belton ISD notes carried a projected cost of $125.6 million and is approximately 385,000 square feet. In comparison, the current Waxahachie High School campus carried an approximate cost of $118 million and is over 480,000 square feet.
Lake Belton High will open with freshmen and sophomores, and will not compete at the varsity level until the 2022-23 school year.
The Temple Daily Telegram on Monday noted that Belton ISD had “almost” completed the various coaching staffs for its newest campus.
Hill served as one of those final hires.
Travis M. Smith | @Travis5mith