Fern Creek player overcomes obstacles to become an inspiration to others - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fern Creek player overcomes obstacles to become an inspiration to others

A Fern Creek basketball player has overcome some incredible obstacles to be on the court.  But Iisha Taylor doesn't even give it a second thought.

Basketball is a game of speed and agility, and Iisha Taylor has both.  She's a guard on the Fern Creek High School varsity basketball team, but she's not your average basketball player.  She says, "I had a stroke when I was two. It happened at a daycare, but they really don't know what caused it, so I've been like this for a while...I can't use my right side very much at all.  I walk with a limp, but it hasn't stopped me.  I'm proud of that."

Her coach, Michelle Fries, says, "She can drive and she can manipulate the ball with one hand. She'll go to her weak hand just to come right back, but I've seen her beat people off the dribble."

Still, she draws stares and whispers from opposing teams.  Coach Fries says, "I have to be honest with you, a lot of times it's a negative reaction.  I've seen people laugh and giggle, and stare...and people always look like they're questioning, why is she out there, how can she warm up and even think she's going to play?"

Iisha's not a starter, but she usually plays two or three minutes per game.  But the game of basketball is not just about minutes, which Iisha proves both on and off the court.

She's an honor roll student, she works in the school's youth service center, and she's a team player.  Coach Fries explains, "She's never late. She never has an excuse. She's never come to me and complained something hurts. Wherever I tell her to be, she's there, and she's there early."

Iisha doesn't see herself as being different.  She certainly doesn't want her opponents to treat her any differently.   Still, the drills are harder for her, protecting the ball isn't easy either -- she just doesn't let that stop her:  "I love it," Iisah says.

Iisha is an example of making the best of what life gives you -- an example her coach uses regularly when counseling other students:  "We still have to deal with certain negative things in our life and just keep plugging on, and you can just turn to Iisha and say, let me give you an example.  I'm amazed at what she can do."

Iisha is already making plans for college. She wants to stay involved in basketball -- perhaps as a manager.   Coach Fries says Iisha will always be welcome to come back and coach at Fern Creek, as long as she brings her trademark positive attitude and her smile.  "I love her smile!" the coach says.

Fern Creek will open the season at home on Tuesday against Brown.

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