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Kyle Wyatt shines through dreary W. Lincoln season

Wyatt goes for a basket during the Rebels’ win over Lincoln Charter.

Senior nears 1,000 points as regular season closes

MICHAEL GEBELEIN
Sports Writer

It’s been a difficult basketball season for the West Lincoln Rebels boys team.
The Rebels defeated Lincoln Charter in the third game of the season in nonconference play, and have since then found themselves on the wrong end of 18 straight games, and have yet to win a conference game.
Senior Kyle Wyatt has been through all of those games, and has consistently put up big numbers.
In 21 regular season games, he’s scored in single digits only twice, and is 51 points away from hitting the 1,000th point of his high school career.
“That’s been the elephant in the room for a while, those 1,000 points, but he’s doing what he can for the team,” West Lincoln head coach Karl Sain said.
“Sometimes that involves assists, and he’s second on the team in steals and leads the team in rebounds. He hits so many different categories. Scoring is the one that makes the papers, but he contributes for us in so many different ways.”
Wyatt, a four-year starter for the varsity Rebels, is a proven leader on the team as the only athlete that had played in a varsity game before the start of the 2011-2012 season. Through the entirety of his high school career, Wyatt has averaged 10.5 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game. His scoring has peaked this year, with 18.5 points per game, while his rebounds have lowered slightly to 115 from his 145 rebounds his junior year.
“It’s been tough because we have a bunch of young guys this year,” Wyatt said. “I always try to encourage them, and tell them we just have to go out there and do the things Coach tells us to do to the best of our ability. When we’re down by 10 or 15 we have to keep playing hard and things will happen.”
Wyatt sent the Rebels’ game against Bessemer City on Friday into overtime, but West Lincoln eventually fell 66-61. Despite the loss, Friday’s game was a dramatic improvement over the first time the two teams met, when the Rebels lost by 22 points.
“That was the best we’ve played all year,” Wyatt said. “The first time we played Bessemer City was not like it was the second time. Even against North Lincoln we got beat, but we were right there with them the second time. Throughout the course of the season we’ve played better as a team, which is something that’s going to happen with such a young team.”
Sain said he hopes Wyatt’s leadership and work ethic will help the younger West Lincoln players see what it takes to perform at a high level.
“He has a wealth of experience, and with that experience of being in different situations, there have been a lot of opportunities for the kids to lean on him,” Sain said. “There have been situations where he’s been able to get the kids into a team huddle to tell them what they’re up against before a game. It’s different to hear it from the mouth of a player instead of the mouth of a coach, it hits home more.”
Sain said Wyatt was one of the top five “workout warriors” he’s seen in his coaching career.
“It boils down to putting in the work and being a better player,” Sain said. “A lot of nights after games we’ll stick around and shoot, and he’s always the last one to leave. I’m hoping that the team will see the work he’s done in the offseason that that it will rub off on them.”

The senior Rebel forward puts up a jumper during the consolation game of the Peoples Bank Holiday Tournament against North Lincoln.

West Lincoln’s Kyle Wyatt sets up a pass in West Lincoln’s game at Draughn earlier in the season.

Images courtesy of File Photo

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