Hess an example of Scott City’s unselfish play, balance
SCHS senior Tyler Hess in sub-state action against Southwestern Heights. The guard/post player scored in double figures in each sub-state game, including a season high 17 points against Holcomb.
By Rod Haxton, editor
When Drew Kite went to the bench with his fourth foul late in the third quarter of Saturday’s sub-state championship game, the Longhorns may have seen it as their last - and best - opportunity to climb back into a game in which they were only trailing 54-41.
With 1:54 left in the third quarter there was still time for Holcomb to pull off the upset.
Enter Tyler Hess.
Often times the forgotten man in Scott City’s prolific scoring machine, Hess is the versatile athlete who can play guard one minute against a pressing defense or move into the low post the next.
And that’s just what the six-foot senior did when it may have mattered the most.
During that crucial 1:54 stretch to close out the third period he scored one field goal when he slipped behind the defense and was on the receiving end of a pass from Brett O’Neil.
But none fired up the team and the crowd more than when Hess missed a shot under the basket against a taller defender, saved the ball from going out of bounds, backed into the defender who was draped over his back and bulled his way back up for a putback just ahead of the buzzer which extended the SCHS lead to 60-41.
The Scott City bench and crowd jumped to their feet in appreciation of Hess’s effort.
The first player to greet him on the court with a chest bump was none other than Kite.
“There isn’t a player on this team who works harder than Ty,” said Kite afterwards. “He makes all of us play harder and play better.”
“That was sheer effort,” adds head coach Glenn O’Neil. “He could have given up on it, but he was able to get the rebound and stick it back in. He definitely earned that one.”
Hess finished the night with a season high 17 points, but even that doesn’t begin to indicate the role he played in this championship win.
When the Longhorns came out in a triangle-and-two defense in an effort to shut down guards Brett and Trey O’Neil, head coach Glenn O’Neil responded by giving Hess more responsibility for bringing the ball down the floor.
“Hats off to Ty for handling the ball probably more than he has the majority of his career,” says head coach Glenn O’Neil.
The Longhorns underestimated Hess’s ability to run the offense, which was reflected in his team high eight assists to go along with five rebounds. O’Neil says Holcomb obviously underestimated Hess.
“I don’t think they respected his ability to handle the ball as well as he did.”
Opponents have also made a habit of underestimating Hess’s ability to play in the low post where he was on the receiving end of several nice passes on backdoor cuts for easy baskets against both Southwestern Heights and Holcomb.
Having scored in double figures only twice during the regular season, it may have surprised some to see Hess reach double figures in all three sub-state games.
The ones least surprised are his coaches and teammates.
“Ty has probably sacrificed the most in his game in terms of offense. When you look at his shot totals during his sophomore year when he played more of a post to his senior year, there has been a big dropoff in the number of shots. Now he’s a key role player,” says O’Neil.
“We have a lot of guys who play unselfish as far as making sacrifices in order for us to be a better team. Ty has probably done that more than anybody.”
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