MANSFIELD — Talayzha Catchings is quickly closing in on history.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Catchings led Mansfield Senior to its first two wins of the season last week. She scored 53 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out 13 assists as the Tygers (2-3, 1-1 Ohio Cardinal Conference) knocked off Ashland and St. Peter’s.
“She is our floor general,” first-year Senior High coach J.R. Wilson said. “She makes the players around her better.”
A 5-foot-3 combo guard, Catchings scored 31 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists in Thursday’s 66-52 win over Ashland. She followed that performance up with 22 points, five rebounds and six assists in Saturday’s 49-35 win over St. Peter’s.
A four-year letter winner, Catchings is averaging 19.6 points a game. She will soon join Senior High’s exclusive 1,000 point club.
“At the start of the season she was 257 points away from 1,000,” Wilson said. “She only needs 159 more.”
Catchings averaged 15.8 points a game as a junior, earning a spot on the Ohio Cardinal Conference first team for a second straight season. The Tygers were 5-18 last year, falling in the sectional final to eventual district champ Bellevue.
Wilson took over for Todd Krill after coaching at Mansfield Christian.
“I feel like we are coming together,” Catchings said during the summer. “I haven’t known coach Wilson very long, but he’s going to get us moving in the right direction.”
Senior High opened the season with losses to Crestview, Bellevue and Madison. The Rams made their move after Catchings went to the bench with muscle stiffness during the third quarter and held on for a 57-53 win.
"She is our engine,” Wilson said at the time. “We run a lot of things through her because she sees the floor so well. She is our leader on the court and when she was out, we noticed.”
While the Tygers are still a work in progress, Wilson has seen plenty of improvement.
“Several officials have commented on the girls’ attitudes and how they are playing more like a team this year,” Wilson said. “It’s exciting to hear people say things at games.
“We’re moving in the right direction.”