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Gym work pays off for Lee

first_imgLANCASTER – Jennifer Lee spent a significant portion of her summer in Antelope Valley College’ gym refining basketball skills she did not know she would get a chance to put to use. After riding the bench most of her freshman year on AVC’s women’s team, Lee had every reason to be discouraged. The former Palmdale High 3-point shooting specialist kept on AVC coach John Taylor to allow her to use the gym, where she spent hours practicing her shooting and doing ballhandling drills by herself around cones. “She was a pest,” Taylor said, “but a good pest.” Lee’s efforts have paid big dividends for her and the Marauders. Injuries to several players opened up a starting position at shooting guard, and Lee has taken advantage. On Saturday, she scored a career-high 18 points and added seven assists in a 71-42 Foothill Conference victory over San Bernardino Valley. After seeing just 15-20 minutes of playing all of last season in the Marauders’ state semifinal run, she has become the team’s feel-good story of this year. “This is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached, and I couldn’t be happier about the success she’s having,” Taylor said. “She’s one of reasons why I stay in coaching.” Lee also is a big reason defending conference champion AVC (15-7 overall, 5-0 Foothill) is on course to defend its title. The Marauders look to complete the first round of conference play unbeaten when they play Barstow today at 5 p.m. “She was a big part of our success last season, too, and I’m not sure she even realizes it,” Taylor said. “She never complained, and she never even thought about quitting. She just went out and outworked everybody.” An excellent all-around athlete, Lee was a second-team all-conference women’s volleyball selection as a libero in first year of eligibility at AVC last fall. “She might be one of our best athletes and she could still have a future in basketball,” Taylor said. Redshirt: Injured sophomore guard/forward Rebecca Maessen, who has been sidelined all season with foot injury, received medical clearance to start jogging, but her status with AVC remains questionable. Maessen, a former Netherlands national team star who transferred to AVC from Trinity Valley College (Athens, Texas), has already accepted a scholarship offer from UC Irvine. A decision on her status is expected within a few days, Taylor said. “Odds are she’s probably going to redshirt,” Taylor said. “At this point, it’s hard to justify just playing 10 games for us.” Losing streak: The men’s basketball team (9-14, 2-4) reached new lows in an 84-49 loss Saturday to San Bernardino Valley. AVC lost its fourth consecutive conference game for the first time in coach Newton Chelette’s 17 years in charge. It was the most lopsided loss a Chelette-coached AVC team has experienced. Gideon Rubin, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more