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Keough puts Tampa Catholic into higher gear

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Thu. January 7, 2010 | Eduardo A. Encina

TAMPA — Meghan Keough is used to being a scorer, a player who needed to drive the lane or fill the net from the perimeter in order for her team to have a chance to win.
But in her first season at Tampa Catholic, the junior guard’s job has changed. Her new role is to run a frenetic offense, with emphasis on “run.”
Her addition to the lineup has made Tampa Catholic arguably the most dangerous — hard to argue, most complete — team in Hillsborough County.
Keough, who played shooting guard the past two seasons at Land O’Lakes, is now the point guard of a Tampa Catholic starting lineup that includes three 1,000-point scorers — Keough and seniors Colette Eule and Sarah Brennan.
While last season’s first trip to the state tournament in school history was dictated by Tampa Catholic’s fast-paced, up-and-down-the-court game, the addition of Keough is a perfect fit to make TC’s fast offense even faster.
“We run a lot of transition and I love it,” said Keough, who leads the team during coach Nancy Kroll’s running drills. “I love running the ball. Our offense revolves around getting the ball upcourt.”
This season, four Crusaders are averaging double figures — Eule, Brennan, Keough and shooting guard Micah Kroll. And the Crusaders’ 15 wins have come by nearly 36 points a game.
And while Keough’s numbers have come down — she averaged 20.8 points and 8.4 rebounds at Land O’Lakes and now is averaging 12.9 and 4.4 — Keough is excited about the prospect of helping the Crusaders back to the state tournament.
“She adds a tremendous amount of speed, outside shooting, defense, ball handing,” Nancy Kroll said. “What team can’t use all that?”
Eule, an Air Force commit who leads the team with 17.4 points a game, said Keough’s presence has become obvious.
“She’s really good at speeding the game up,” Eule said. “We like to run, and she’s a threat on both offense and defense. Other teams need to know where she is on offense. You can notice a difference from last year. She’s another player you have to account for.”
And college programs have taken notice. She already owns Division I offers from FAU and Stetson. Coaches from Wake Forest and Kansas State have come to watch her play. Iowa, Miami and USF have also shown interest. But Keough has seen how recruiting works. Her older sister, Kayli, is a sophomore forward at Florida State and was highly recruited out of Land O’Lakes.
“It’s still really exciting and kind of surprising,” Keough said. “But my eyes got opened by seeing her and that’s when I decided I wanted to play college basketball. Seeing the recruiting process and everything she went through made me want to do the same.”
Playing the point will help Keough adapt to college, where she might be too small to be a shooting guard. Most schools are recruiting her as a flex guard.
“It was difficult at first just getting used to playing the point, but I’m getting more comfortable playing the point and dealing with presses and stuff like that,” Keough added. “In the beginning of the season I wasn’t nearly as comfortable with presses, but I’ve gotten a lot better.”

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