January 9, 2018 9:43:34 AM
STARKVILLE -- Trey Tyler's confidence is growing every game.
It helps that the Starkville Academy sophomore forward no longer needs to wear a brace on his left knee to help protect against a pinched meniscus he suffered in the final week of the football team's season.
That injury didn't prevent Tyler from playing in Starkville Academy's 21-14 overtime victory against Indianola Academy on Nov. 18 at Jackson Academy. It also hasn't stopped him from developing into a more consistent threat for the school's boys basketball team.
Tyler had 16 points, six rebounds, and five steals in a victory against Hebron Christian on Thursday. He had 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists Friday in a 67-38 victory against Winston Academy in a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) Class AAA, District 2 victory.
For his accomplishments, Tyler is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"I just am playing the role I am supposed to play," Tyler said. "Coach just told me what to do, and I just took it to heart. He told me he wants me to shoot the ball as much as I can and he wants me to score and to fit in with the seniors just like I am one of them."
Tyler admits he has "good and bad games," but he has tried to remain level-headed and to do what Starkville Academy coach Bruce Allsup wants. A year ago, Tyler played on the junior high team before he moved up to the varsity team. He said he played six to seven minutes a game to get a feel for the speed of the game.
Allsup said Tyler, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, plays more like a junior or a senior. He said Tyler has fit in well in a starting lineup that includes seniors Brady and Raegan Richardson, Kyle Faver, and Noah Methvin. Allsup said Tyler's intelligence as a basketball player has enabled him to step into a bigger scoring role.
"He has put in a lot of work over the years to get himself to be where he needs to be basketball wise," Allsup said. "He had a really good come-out game against Winston the other night. We have been expecting that and need that from him. Hopefully, he is ready to start taking on more of our offensive looks. He is a very, very good offensive player that can put the ball in the hole."
Allsup said he has encouraged Tyler to shoot and to score more for the Volunteers. He said being asked to play that kind of role might have been unusual for a sophomore surrounded by seniors, but he said Tyler had accepted the challenge and is feeling more comfortable being counted on as a scorer every night.
"We have the confidence he can put it in there, and that's what we want," Allsup said. "We have the utmost confidence in him to score. When he doesn't, we're kind of disappointed. He is just going to get better and better as the year goes on."
Tyler, who played right tackle and on the defensive line, said he is using bands to strengthen his knee on days he isn't playing to stay ready. He said he received a shot in his knee to alleviate the pain so he could play against Indianola Academy. Tyler said the effects of the numbing shot started to wear off in the second quarter of the state title game. He said he took a few Tylenol pills and pain pills his doctor gave him to help him fight through the second half.
Tyler and the Volunteers then started basketball practice the Monday following the football team's victory. Tyler wore the brace in the first three or four games of the season, but he credits the team's trainer for helping him feel better.
Now that he is feeling more comfortable, Tyler plans to take advantage of every opportunity on the basketball court.
"I'm just doing what I am told to do," Tyler said. "If that's shoot the ball or pass the ball, that's what I am trying to do. I am trying to do whatever is best for the team."
n On Monday, the Starkville Academy basketball teams swept Hebron Christian. Mary Peyton Passons had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four steals to lead the girls to a 44-41 victory. Lillee Alpe had 11 points and four rebounds. Rush Brown had seven rebounds, and Milla Davis had six points and five rebounds for the Lady Volunteers (12-10).
Brady Richardson had 19 points and three assists, and Tyler had 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in the boys team's 74-34 victory. Raegan Richardson had 15 points, five rebounds, six assists, and five steals. Cameron Roby had eight points and five rebounds, and Kyle Faver had five rebounds for the Volunteers (11-4).
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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