Since middle school, once the winter rolled around you could find Fremont’s Taylor McCabe, Macy Bryant, Bella Keaton and Sarah Shepard on the basketball court together.
The quartet shared a special moment Wednesday as they all signed to play college basketball prior to their final season together on the court.
“That’s something no other program is going to have,” said McCabe. “We tried to make a big deal out of it because it is a big deal.”
McCabe made official her commitment to the University of Iowa while Bryant inked with Division II University of Nebraska-Kearney. Sarah Shepard solidified her plans to stay in Fremont and join the Midland program while Bella Keaton will be a conference foe up the road at Briar Cliff.
“This group has been together since we were in elementary school and it’s been super cool seeing our different paths and where we are all going and just seeing how successful we are going to be,” said Shepard.
The four have been a core part in the Tigers resurgence, leading Fremont to the program’s first state runner-up finish last year as well as a Nike Tournament of Champions runner-up finish in 2019.
Taylor McCabe, Iowa
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McCabe had to wait 464 days to make it official.
Fremont’s sharpshooter announced her commitment to the Hawkeyes on Aug. 3, 2020 prior to the start of her junior season.
“I thought that today wasn’t going to be any different because of how long I had known them and had been committed for a year, so I figured that’d be a bigger day for me, but I can definitely say this day has been a really good experience and a lot more fun,” McCabe said.
Playing with the All Iowa Attack on the summer circuit game the Hawkeyes an
“I’ve known them for a long time, so I feel like our relationship is pretty set and stable,” McCabe said. “I am excited to get back to campus and see them play. Their first game was last night, so I watched that on TV.”
McCabe will leave Fremont as one of the all-time greats, having scored 1,697 points going into her final season, averaging 20.8 points per game.
Macy Bryant, Nebraska-Kearney
Much like McCabe, Bryant announced her commitment to the Lopers prior to the start of last season, announcing her intent to sign on Nov. 16, 2020.
Now six days shy of the year anniversary, Bryant officially joins the UNK recruiting class.
“It feels like it has really set it, it’s really real. Before it was like, oh yeah I am going to Kearney and I know it, but now the papers are in and I know that’s where I am going to go and it’s a sigh of relief.
What sold Bryant on the Lopers was their coaching staff led by head coach Carrie
Eighmey and her husband, assistant coach Devin Eighmey.
“The coaches made a huge difference, they not only focus on you as a basketball player, but character-wise they are on you all the time,” Bryant said.
Staying close to home also impacted the decision.
“Family has always been the biggest part of my life and they’ve supported me through everything, so being able to go to a spot that is close enough for all the Fremont fans and all of my family to come watch me from not that far away,” Bryant said.
As a junior, she averaged 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season.
“Macy is the ultimate teammate,” said Carrie Eighmey. “She is one of the best communicators I have recruited in a very long time. She is "sneaky good" in so many ways.”
Bella Keaton, Briar Cliff
Matching the family atmosphere of the Fremont basketball program was a priority for Keaton in her journey to find a place to play. She found it with the Chargers.
“I didn’t think I’d commit this soon, but it felt like home,” Keaton said. “The coaches, the players, it all was amazing.”
Keaton, the conductor of the Fremont offense, averaged 3.3 assists per game as a junior, chipping in 6.6 points per game as well.
“Their number one thing is defense and that’s what I’ve grown up with,” Keaton said.
Sarah Shepard, Midland
The decision to stay close to home came easy for Shepard, especially with two Warriors recruiters at the dinner table.
Sarah joins her older sisters Emma and Sam within the Warriors program and will have a chance to play one year as a trio with both Emma and Sam receiving an extra year of eligibility due to COVID.
“I couldn’t pass up an opportunity playing with both of them and the coaching staff is great. I’ve been a part of Midland through all my siblings for a long time, so it felt like a pretty obvious decision for me.
It’ll be the first time since the driveway shoot arounds that the three Shepards will have a chance to don the same uniform.
“I only got one year with Emma because she graduated early and I’ve never played with Sam,” Sarah said. “It’ll be interesting to see. We all just push each other a lot and motivate each other, it’s going to be a ton of fun.”
Shepard came into her own as a junior, averaging double-figures for the first time in her career with an 11.6 points per game mark while also averaging 6.3 rebounds per game.