Cameron’s Ashlynn VanTassell Making A Name for Herself
Freshman has helped Dragons win 13 straight
CAMERON — Making the switch from middle school basketball to high school hoops is no walk in the park.
That is what makes the season Cameron freshman Ashlynn VanTassell is having so impressive.
The 6-foot-1 center has scored in double figures in each of the Dragons’ 15 games this year and is averaging over 15.7 points per game.
She is also a rebounding machine — recording double-doubles in 13 of the 15 contests.
VanTassell’s early success, paired with fellow freshman Kenzie Clutter and a trio of stellar seniors, has sparked Cameron to a 14-1 record and 13 consecutive victories.
Cameron’s only loss came in the second game of the season to Oak Glen (65-45) a loss the Dragons avenged last week by a score of 58-35.
“It’s been pretty different from eighth grade,” VanTassell said. “There have been a lot of challenges, but it’s really been a lot of fun.”
Although VanTassell is only a freshman, she has plenty of basketball experience playing against strong competition in the offseason, where she has honed her skills.
“In the offseason I do some training and I play summer ball and spring ball with my travel team,” VanTassell said. “It’s different competition up there.”
Most teams have trouble matching up with her height, but Cameron coach Holly Pettit has been impressed with how she maneuvers inside the paint, as well.
“Her footwork is amazing,” Pettit said. “She gets up and down the court really well and always hustles. That’s what you want in a player.”
VanTassell is also catching the eyes of other coaches around the state.
“She may be one of the best players in the state and she’s only a freshman,” Madonna girls’ coach Cory Wingett said. “I don’t know how she’s going to get stopped in the sectional or the tournament.”
There is no question VanTassell has outstanding talent and a bright future at Cameron but the three seniors _ Emma Whipkey, Lili Neely and Reagan Gray — have helped her and the rest of the freshman class excel to reach its full potential.
“We have three really good senior leaders,” Pettit said. “Lili Neely is averaging over 20 points a game right now and Emma Whipkey and Reagan Gray are just great defensively.
“The three seniors we have are phenomenal role models. They are team players and each of them know what their role is on the team. Reagan Gray is not a big scorer, but we always put her on the best player and Emma is great defensively, too. I couldn’t ask for a better group of seniors.”
Those seniors have helped make the transition for VanTassell, Clutter, Katelynn VanTassell and sisters Ashlee and Emilee Dobbs much easier during their freshman campaign.
“We’re like a family,” Ashlynn VanTassell said. “We’ve been working together since the sixth grade I think.”
With the seniors leading the way and Ashlynn VanTassell and Clutter making a name for themselves, Pettit feels the team is really beginning to gel.
“Ashlynn and Kenzie are stepping in,” Pettit said. “From middle school to high school is a huge step and Ashlynn is averaging 15 or 16 rebounds per game. They’ve both stepped up and done really well. I think the team is starting to play team ball and that’s really important.”