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Roger Bacon senior Kylee Sheppard is a leader in two sports this school year

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Posted at 7:00 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 18:47:48-05

ST. BERNARD, Ohio — The rainy spring days during distance learning couldn't stop Roger Bacon point guard Kylee Sheppard from practicing her jump shot.

Sometimes, the weather only would allow her to attempt up to 50 shots on her Springfield Township driveway hoop.

Sheppard would text Roger Bacon girls basketball coach Joe Finnegan with an apology.

"I was shooting and the wind was so strong -- it was just, like, knocking my ball out everywhere," Sheppard said with a smile. "I was like, 'I'm sorry, I'll get up extra ones the next day.'"

All kidding aside, the Roger Bacon players voluntarily kept track of their attempted shots in a Google document when the COVID-19 pandemic kept the players apart earlier this year.

Sheppard, who signed with Providence College, asked her teammates to tell the truth about their attempts. It was all about preparing for this season.

"I just love competing," she said. "Just in general. It doesn't matter what sport it is but basketball in particular. People think it's an easy sport, but it's really not. You have to put in so much work to be good at it. I just want that work to pay off. And I do that through competing and working hard all the time."

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Finnegan said Sheppard's efforts to put up thousands of shots this spring have paid dividends as Roger Bacon opens the season later this month.

"She worked on her jump shot really, really hard, and it looks really good so far," Finnegan said.

Sheppard's work ethic carries over to the classroom, where she has a 3.78 grade-point average. She plans to study engineering in college.

"She has been a joy to be around," Finnegan said. "She is a great leader. The kids respect her. She is just one of those kids that just demands your attention."

The Roger Bacon standout also excelled on the soccer pitch as a target forward this fall.

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Roger Bacon senior Kylee Sheppard is second in program history with 48 career goals and sixth with 20 career assists.

Sheppard is second all-time in program history in total points (goals and assists) with 116 after having passed her mother, Mindy Sheppard, in that category.

"I think it's just the will to win," Roger Bacon girls soccer coach Kristen Johnson said. "I definitely see that will to want to be the best. Obviously, she is going (Division I) for basketball. I think she could go D-I for soccer if she wanted. I think she could pick up softball or lacrosse and probably go D-I for that. It's just that kind of mentality of putting in all the work."

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Roger Bacon senior point guard Kylee Sheppard helped to lead Roger Bacon to a Division II district championship and a regional final berth last season.

Sheppard is also second in program history with 48 career goals, one behind her mother. Sheppard is second with 19 goals in a single season; Mindy Sheppard had 17 goals.

"I can't say enough," Mindy Sheppard said. "It's been a fun road. I couldn't be happier."

Even though Kylee Sheppard verbally committed to Providence in May, she never hesitated on whether to play soccer this fall.

"My teammates knew that I had a goal in mind of beating my mom's record," she said. "So they helped me get the most goals I've ever scored. And I just felt the chemistry was the best it's ever been out of all my four years."

Sheppard, 17, said playing soccer helped strengthen her resolve for the basketball season this winter.

In short, it prevented burnout from one sport.

"For an athlete to be that dominant by only playing soccer three or four months out of the year is pretty incredible," Johnson said. "Obviously since this is her second sport and she is still that dominant."

The Roger Bacon basketball team hopes to maintain that mentality this winter.

Sheppard, who averaged 12 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals, helped to lead Roger Bacon (20-8) to a Division II regional runner-up finish last season. It was the first regional final appearance for the Roger Bacon girls basketball program since 2005.

Roger Bacon has talent once again. It also returns standout post player Clarissa Craig, who signed with the University of Cincinnati.

"I like how gritty everybody is," Sheppard said. "Like in practice, you can just tell how competitive we are, how we're always pushing each other and everybody listens. Being the leader of the team I'm always pushing people to do better than what they're doing. We have big plans this season."