KANSAS CITY -- Zach Taylor went out a champion after all.
A few hours removed from No. 1-seeded Carroll College's elimination in the second round of the NAIA national tournament, Taylor competed in the 3-point contest.
And just as Taylor’s final game at the PE Center in Helena left him a champion on the court, his final performance at Municipal Auditorium earned him some hardware, too.
“They got me here, so I have to give all the love to them,” Taylor said of his teammates, who stood nearby as he was interviewed after the contest.
Taylor defeated Jalen McGaughy of Dillard (Louisiana) in the final.
Michael Gholston of Central Christian (Kansas) and Kyle Pipenger of Indiana University East were eliminated in the first round.
Taylor was selected to compete in the contest a few weeks ago by the NAIA. It was an added bonus Saturday, after the Saints had lost just a few hours earlier.
The Saints’ run at the national tournament ended when Ryan Imhoff missed a last-second shot as the Saints fell 73-71 to Life University out of Georgia. After the game, Taylor embraced and encouraged Imhoff.
“I told him it was a good look,” Taylor said. “He makes that nine out of 10 times. That’s what we wanted. And he was hitting for us all game. He was our go-to guy that game. I couldn’t have been happier with another shot. He carried us all game. He can’t think that one shot makes or breaks our whole season. Without him, we wouldn’t have been here.”
His outlook on the Saints going forward: “We’re still going to be good. We’re going to be right there. They still got everybody on the team. Everybody’s just getting better and better. So we’ll still be up there at the top.”
Taylor will look forward and consider his next prospects. A professional career may still be in play.
“I would like to,” he said of playing professionally. “We’ll see what happens. I’ll talk to Coach and see if I can get hooked up somewhere. Right now, it’s just good to be a normal student for the next couple of months.”