Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
WEST BRANCH – Scanning the statistical sheet is the quickest and easiest way to see what a player does for a basketball team.
There are things however, often important elements, that don’t show up in a box score or a state sheet.
Those intangibles are a big part of what senior Riley Vaughan brings for Class 2A No. 14. West Branch.
“She is a great kid but most importantly for us she is the ultimate team player,” West Branch coach Jarod Tylee said of Vaughan. “She does the stuff you don’t always see, she is the kind of kid you want in your program.
A key reserve for West Branch, Vaughan doesn’t lead the Bears in any major statistical category.
The 5-foot-5 guard doesn’t rank toward the top of the list of anything on the stat sheet.
Vaughan does lead the Bears in something much more important – work ethic.
“I think that’s the most impressive part about her is that she is willing to put in the work and take what she gets,” Tylee said. “She is here every day and when her time is called, she makes the most of it. She is just a worker and is just one of those people that comes every day and does their job with no complaints.”
Vaughan picked up her penchant for hard work from her older sister.
Growing up it was watching my older sister,” Vaughan explained. “I always saw how hard she worked and I wanted to do the same.”
That work ethic is what stands out to Tylee about Vaughan who is just one of two seniors on a young West Branch roster.
Vaughan never misses volunteer workouts during the season or extra sessions in the summer.
When Tylee needed volunteers to work at youth camps in the summer Vaughan was the first to show up.
“Over the last four years she hasn’t missed a lot of stuff, she is here every day,” Tylee said. “When I have camp she is the first one to volunteer, she is just that kind of kid. She is polite, respective and just a great teammate.”
The work ethic that makes Vaughan a valuable asset for the basketball program has carried over off the court.
A three-sport athlete, Vaughan also competes in track and is was an all-conference setter on the volleyball team.
Vaughan is even more accomplished away from athletics.
A 4.0 student she is a National Honor Society member and is active in yearbook and show choir at West Branch.
“It’s just prioritizing your time,” Vaughan said. “When I’m at basketball I focus on basketball but when I’m at something else I focus on that. It’s just about focusing on one thing and prioritizing your time.”
Vaughan plans to attend either the University of Iowa or the University of Wisconsin next fall where she intends to study biomedical engineering.
“Freshman year I took an engineering course and I loved it and I have always been interested in the medical field and helping people so biomedical is just a good mix of the two,” Vaughan explained. “I am really interested in prosthetics and artificial organs and that is the hopefully the
goal is to study that and get into a field working with that.”
Before she focuses on the future Vaughan is enjoying her final prep season.
Vaughan has helped West Branch to an 11-2 start is has played the best basketball of her career of the past several weeks.
“The last few games she has kind of been a spark off the bench and the state don’t show it but we have struggled shooting the ball and she’s come in several times and hit a 3 to get us going,” Tylee said. “The best way to describe her is she is the ultimate teammate.”
For Vaughan the greatest reward has been seeing her team succeed in her final season. A close second is watching her hard work the past three seasons help her closer her career on a high note.
“I know I have to work hard so putting in that extra effort and seeing it pay off is really nice,” Vaughan said.