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Dynamic seniors lead Lady Mountain Lions

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Hannah McCleod/The Explorer

Mt. View High School senior guards Melody McLaughlin and Lauren Reece.

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Six years of playing on the court together, Mt. View High School senior guards Melody McLaughlin and Lauren Reece’s chemistry on the court has helped them lead their team to a 11-4 record.

“We work well together on the court because we’ve played together for so long,” said Melody. “We workout together and push each other.”

Melody first played basketball in seventh grade at Tortolita Middle School where she also played with Lauren. Her love for the sport grew as she kept playing and made the varsity team her freshmen year at Mt. View. Although, she didn’t get much playing time she gained a lot of experience, which then helped her land a starting position her sophomore year.

“Every day in practice I’d work hard for a position,” said Melody about competing for the starters position. “The coach chose the starters by how well they did in practice.”

Lauren followed in the same footsteps as Melody and took a starters position as well her sophomore year. Lauren’s start in basketball began in fifth grade in a YMCA league. From there she moved on to Tortolita and also played on a couple summer leagues until arriving at Mt. View.

Freshmen year for the girls proved to be a challenging year for the Mt. View girl’s team who lost more games than won.

“I think we won a total of seven games including tournaments,” said Lauren. “It was a rough year for sure. Compare that kind of season to our sophomore year where we made it to state.”

Head Coach Niki Melchiori says that Melody and Lauren are two girls that have really turned the program around over the years. Both girls took starting positions their sophomore year and have kept those over the past three years. 

“Both of them have a lot of experience,” said Melchiori. “Melody is an intense player and tries to bring her teammates up when they’re down. Lauren has a more calming effect. They even each other out, players respond to both of them and they both want to win.”

Melody is averaging 13.1 points and 6 rebounds per game. On the other hand, Lauren is averaging 10 points and 3 assists per game. With a solid start to the season so far, both seniors say that their team is one to watch out for.

“A misconception people usually have for the team is that we aren’t a team to look out for, but we are. They just think that because of our past,” said Melody. “We have great defense and our transition is good. We have a fast team and our posts are quick too.”

Although, much credit is given to the team for executing the plays and playing aggressively on the court, the seniors both give much credit to their head coach for how well the team has done.

“Nikki is a motivator and holds everything together for the team,” said Melody. “I would call her my other mom. She helps us with school or any problems we have. She has no jersey on but she is still the team and she is what’s made me love the game so much more.” 

The family mentality is throughout the entire team according to the seniors. Having juniors and seniors on the team has made it easy for them to all become close.

“The team is such a family, like we are all so close,” said Melody. “I think this is the closest the team has ever been. Like we even hang out together outside of basketball.”

As the seniors near the end of their high school basketball career, they consider it bittersweet but are excited for their future plans. Melody plans on playing college basketball and hopes to stay on the West Coast. She is undecided on what she wants to do but is considering law enforcement, criminal justice, or something in the medical field. As for Lauren, she recently decided she wanted to play basketball. She also is undecided but says that nursing is a possible degree choice.

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Hannah McCleod/The Explorer

Mt. View High School senior guards Melody McLaughlin and Lauren Reece.

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