Miss Basketball comes to Evergreen Commons

As the evening was wrapping up, one woman spoke up.

“I’m sorry. Could I ask just one more question?”

She was handed the microphone.

“Is there anything we as seniors can do to help young people whether in sports or academics?”

West Ottawa senior and Miss Basketball Gabby Reynolds answered.

“Have conversations — not even sports, just a regular conversation,” said the West Ottawa girls varsity basketball co-captain and point guard.

Photo by Andrea GoodellEvergreen Commons President and CEO Jill Ver Steeg, right, led a Q&A with Miss Basketball Michigan Gabby Reynolds, left, and her West Ottawa teammate Taylor Catton.

Reynolds and her teammate, shooting guard Taylor Catton, spoke to the group at Evergreen Commons Monday evening in a question-and-answer session followed by photo ops and trivia.

Community support means a lot to Catton.

“The community supporting us helped us keep going and have a better season than anyone expected,” she says. “Showing up at our games, support (in the stands) always makes me want to play the best I can.”

Photo by Andrea GoodellWest Ottawa basketball players Taylor Catton, center, and Gabby Reynolds speak to a man following a Q&A session at Evergreen Commons.

Connecting generations

Monday's intergenerational event aimed to connect younger and older people, Evergreen Commons President and CEO Jill Ver Steeg says.

“We believe wholeheartedly in the power of intergenerational connections and lifelong learning,” she says. 

Reynolds is the daughter of LeeAnn Reynolds who is on staff at Evergreen Commons.

“We had lots of folks watching her play throughout the year and thought this could be a fun capstone event to bring older and younger together,” Ver Steeg says.

Photo by Andrea Goodell


Reynolds has five siblings, including two brothers with which she has a natural and ongoing competition, especially in sports.

“Losing to my brothers all the time kind of got old, and (basketball) was the one sport I wanted to get really good at, so I could beat them,” Reynolds says.

The best part of the sport for Reynolds is still winning, especially against a tough opponent. 

The cheers of the crowd, a neck-and-neck game, hitting every shot — when things fall into place, that’s the thrill she seeks.

Catton says playing with talented teammates is fun, but what is better is working with great people who make you want to play better.

“It’s really cool to see someone work so hard and see it pay off for her,” she says.

Miss Basketball

When Reynolds heard about the Mick McCabe Miss Basketball title given out every year by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, winning the title became her No. 1 goal.

A proclamation from the governor’s office and state officials makes special note of Reynolds’ drive.

“Her inextinguishable energy and will to win each game is every bit as impressive as her ability to play,” it says.

Reynolds averaged about 30 points a game and posted a career-high 47 points in a Feb. 13 win over Jenison, breaking a 54-year-old single-game school record. Her 1,899 career points beat another school record set in 1987. She led her team to the state quarterfinals for the first time in more than 35 years. 

Reynolds received 12 Division I offers to play college ball. She chose George Washington University where it “just felt like home all around.”

Photo by Andrea GoodellTwo fans check out a photo display of Miss Basketball Michigan Gabby Reynolds before a Q&A session at Evergreen Commons.

“I feel there’s a lot of distractions that get in the way of personal success,” she says and adds you have to “keep your foot on the gas.”

Her pedal is pushed to the metal. 

Reynolds finished her last class on Friday; today she will attend her high school convocation and later this week, she will attend the graduation ceremony. Saturday, the Reynolds family heads to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where Gabby will start basketball practice next week. 

Four weeks of practice will be followed by a four-week summer school session. After a brief break, the fall semester starts.

Even while moving forward, Reynolds is still working out her future. The ultimate dream may be to be a pro-basketball player, but she is weighing her options between studying law and sports management.
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