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Drayton/V-E player finally gets a chance to play at the state level

BISMARCK -- Taylor Reilly is one of the select few.

Of all the Class B high school girls basketball players in North Dakota, she is one of only 12  seniors chosen to play in the annual North Dakota Lions all-star basketball series.

Even more rare on the girls B roster is a player who hasn't competed in the Class B state tournament. Reilly, the former Drayton/Valley-Edinburg standout, is one of only three players on the team who hasn't played in the B tournament in any of the past four seasons.

"I watched quite a few of them at the state tournament this year,'' Reilly said. "I've seen a few of them play at other state tournaments.''

For Reilly, there is no intimidation factor when the annual Lions series, which matches outstanding Class B seniors from this past season against their Class A counterparts, is held.

Games will be today at Bismarck Legacy High School and Tuesday at Fargo Civic Center, with a 6 p.m. starting time for the girls games followed by the A vs. B boys games.

On Friday's first day of practice, Reilly said, a group of her new teammates were talking about their state tournament experiences. "It was interesting to hear their perspectives,'' Reilly said. "I was mostly limited to listening.''

Reilly is no stranger to success on the statewide level. But it came as a solo act. She's a four-time placer in the pole vault and a three-time placer in the high jump at the Class B state track meet.

“It’s much harder competing at the state level,’’ Reilly said. “You just have to work your hardest, whether it’s in track, basketball or any sport at the state level.

"You can definitely tell they're all good and talented players here. But I feel I can step up to the challenge and play at their level. We're all just playing basketball. It's definitely a big experience, getting to play at a state tournament. But it's still just playing the same game.''

The 5-foot-11 Reilly brings strong credentials.

She was a second team all-state pick last season -- the first in the current Drayton/Valley-Edinburg co-op alignment to gain all-state honors. Reilly averaged 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds last season while gaining Region 2 senior player of the year honors and finishing with a co-op record 1,296 career points.

She may have to change her game a little for the Lions competition.

"In Region 2, I was one of the tallest players,'' said Reilly, who has signed to play basketball at Mayville State. "Here I have to work a little harder to get my shots, to use different moves.''

Two of Reilly's teammates are out of Region 4. Jordyn Worley (19.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.7 spg as a senior, 1,803 career points) from Langdon-Edmore-Munich and Stephanie Miller (21.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1,724 career points) from North Star both were first team all-state selections this winter.