When Jasmyn Taylor walked into the Vista Ridge locker room not long before her junior season to tell the Vista Ridge team she was going to be sidelined with an injury for the second year in a row, the entire team broke down in tears.
Now a senior with the Lady Rangers, Taylor missed the vast majority of two seasons at Vista Ridge after completely tearing her meniscus in both of her knees on two separate occasions.
“It was hard for all us,” she said. “Thinking back on it now, it’s kind of funny because we were all sitting there crying like little girls. If they didn’t care, they wouldn't have sat there and cried with me. This really is my family.”
As one of four seniors on a talented Vista Ridge team that has aspirations of topping the district standings and making a deep run in the playoffs, she’s bound to make her last season with the Lady Rangers her best.
“I’m extremely hard-headed when it comes to injuries,” Taylor said. “It was really hard, especially because I want to go further in basketball. Even now, they still bother me and I’m very cautious and it’s changed my game.”
The first time Taylor fully tore her meniscus happened was during a tournament with her club team. It was the very last game of the summer season before the squad dispersed to high school for the year.
She had been playing on a slightly torn meniscus for a while before it tore completely, which sidelined her for nine months.
When the second tear happened, it was much more abrupt, like tearing a piece of paper.
Taylor said she knew what to do as far as her rehab and therapy to come back sooner the second time around. She would go straight from practice to get work done on her knee and the result was a five-month layoff.
“I rehabbed the crap out of it,” Taylor said. “I would spend three hours a day on therapy. By the time I got home, I was wiped.”
Both injuries happened at the same tournament.
All told, she played about five games with Vista Ridge during her sophomore and junior seasons.
Vista Ridge head coach Keith Allen knew Taylor had potential to be a special player from the start. She was one of two freshmen on the Lady Rangers’ team that made it to the state semifinals in 2016.
He said as a freshman, Taylor was very athletic but needed to learn a lot of things.
“Now she’s a senior and she’s still very athletic, but she still needs to learn a lot of things,” Allen said. “But she’s much more mature. She views herself as a leader and wants to push herself in order to push others on the court.”
Taylor said watching from the sideline during practices and games was hard at first, but it gave her a new understanding of the tactics and less physical side of the game.
“When I had my first surgery, it hit me hard because I wanted to be on the court and be the best player that I could, but I obviously couldn’t,” Taylor said. “Sitting on the bench watching all your friends play the sport you love is such a hard thing to do, but I learned so much.”
Taylor came into her senior year at Vista Ridge guns blazing. And it’s safe to say she wouldn’t be where she is without the support of the Vista Ridge team.
She still wants to play basketball at the next level and isn’t letting injuries get in the way of the goal.
“She’s as athletic as any kid I’ve ever coached,” Allen said. “She can come out here and do some things with the ball that other kids can’t do. I think the best is yet to come.”
She said there were a lot of eyes on the team her freshman year and after the first injury, some coaches told her they could even tell she was recovering after missing time. But once the second one happened, the injury-prone stigma started to be discussed.
That’s not how Taylor thinks.
“I’ve always had the mindset of go big or go home,” she said. “Every time I’m going to go hard no matter who I’m going against in the gym. You’ve got to be consistent. Giving up was not an option.”