UPLAND — Lacey Garrett makes the hardest job look easy.
The 2015 Crawfordsville grad took her game to Taylor University, where she set a career-high with 10 assists as her team defeated Spring Arbor 80-55 Tuesday night in the first round of the Crossroads League tournament. Garrett, who is the all-time steals and assists leader for the Athenians, dished out a career-best eight assists last Saturday before handing out the 10 dimes Tuesday. “We have amazing shooters,” the Taylor senior said after her team won its school-record 18th in a row. They take the top seed into the semifinals of the league tourney Friday and with a conference tournament championship to go with the regular season title, could be looking at a No.1 seed in the NAIA national tournament. “I’d rather have 10 assists than 20 points,” the point guard said. “This team is so awesome. We have been through so much together, so much adversity. I just love them so much.” Garrett had the hot hand to start the game, as Taylor runs their record to 26-4. She hit two free throws to score the team’s first points. She then had the assist on the next four field goals, and pulled down a rebound. After a breather, she scored two more times, grabbed a steal, saved a bad pass from becoming a turnover and then with a second left in the half, drew a charging foul that caused the Spring Arbor coach to get a technical foul. She finished the game with those six points, the 10 assists, the steal and charge taken. She had one turnover, which was only because of a shot clock violation. “Lacey will do anything I ask of her,” Trojans coach Jody Martinez said. “She plays with such tenacity. We wanted to move her back to the point guard this season after she came off the bench last year. That put both Lacey and (starting guard) Aubrey Wright in their strongest spots. Martinez is the third coach in the four-year careers of the three Taylor seniors. “What we seniors have been through is so much more than basketball,” Garrett said. “We seniors have to lead with our experience, to reflect on the bigger picture, to know our roles. Coach Martinez has put a lot of the pieces together.” Those three seniors have each played in all 127 games in their Taylor careers, and all have contributed mightily to the success of the team. Kendall Bradbury has broken the school and conference scoring records. She is second in the nation with 22.3 points a game. Wright leads the team with just under five assists a game. Nobody had more friends at Senior Day last Saturday, however, than Garrett, who was the 2015 Journal Review Player of the year, was a member of the 1,000 point club, and set the steals and assist records. Her family, was there, but so was the Crawfordsville 8th grade girls basketball team, and the Crawfordsville varsity team. “It was awesome to see the 8th graders there with Coach (Tony) Thomas, and the varsity team.” Garrett said. “It was even better when I saw that all my former coaches through the years were also there. It brought tears to my eyes. I have used basketball to grow my faith here at Taylor, and maybe it has come full circle. It is all so special.” Thomas, who was Garrett’s varsity coach her four seasons at CHS, summed it up. “We remember the stats,” Thomas said, “but I remember other things. She always worked hard, always. On both ends of the court. She never loafed. When these 8th graders were third graders, she came to work out with them at our Future Athenians camps. They remembered that, so they wanted to come see her on Senior Day.” The season is far from over. Taylor has a national tournament still on the horizon. But Lacey Garrett, who said “college basketball is the hardest thing I have ever done,” made it look easy on Tuesday.