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Published: Thursday, 1/3/2008

Clay's Taylor strong in return from injury

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Zac Taylor is not yet 100 percent after his knee surgery in early July, but the 6-foot-9 Clay senior basketball standout showed last Friday that he may at least be a bit ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation process.

Taylor, who signed a letter of intent to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Toledo in November, scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his return, including the game-winning field goal on an eight-footer with six seconds remaining in a 67-65 victory over visiting Rossford.

The Eagles' post player sustained a torn ACL and meniscus in a summer league game at St. Francis de Sales in late June and underwent reconstructive surgery shortly thereafter. He was not cleared to begin practice until two weeks before his return to game action Friday.

Clay coach Joe Guerrero thinks the impressive comeback effort may have taken a toll on Taylor fatigue-wise, as he was limited to seven points and five boards the next night in a 50-29 Clay loss at Springfield.

"It's going to take him a while, but he's making great progress," Guerrero said. "He has worked extremely hard to get back. In fact, it's amazing how hard he has worked. It's only been about five months to the date that he had surgery."

Before Taylor was able to begin practicing with his teammates he shot around on his own, and may have added an element to his game.

"He was working on his 3-point shot," Guerrero said, "maybe he made the first one of his career against Rossford."

Swanton senior Brad Betz has a chance tonight to become only the fourth boys basketball player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.

After back-to-back 19-point efforts in wins over Lake and North Central last weekend, the 5-foot-9 guard raised his career total to 994 points entering tonight's Northwest Ohio Athletic League game at Evergreen.

Betz, who is averaging 18.5 points per game for the Bulldogs (7-1, 2-1 NWOAL), has started on the varsity since his freshman year.

"He's not a real vocal kid," Swanton coach Tim Zieroff said of Betz. "He leads by example on the floor. He's been the largest contributor to the turnaround of the program the last four years."

Swanton was 0-21 the year before Betz arrived, won four games in each of his first two seasons, and went 10-11 last year.

"Even though Brad has scored a lot of points, he's still a very unselfish player," Zieroff said, "and he makes everyone else around him a better player."

Through 72 career games Betz is averaging 13.8 points. His career single-game high was 27 points this season in a 51-27 league win over Montpelier

The prior three Swanton players to surpass 1,000 points were Dick McQuade, Jeff Lambert, and John Bell.



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