The Sioux Valley boys basketball team is ten and four this season and the Cossacks are finding leadership in an unusual place for a Class A school, an eighth grader. Tayt Vincent turned heads last year coming off the bench for Sioux Valley in seventh grade, now he's the team's leading scorer.
"We like to call ourselves young but dangerous, with no seniors on the squad," head coach Bill Vincent said.
And Vincent has emerged as the team's top threat averaging 17 points a game.
Matt Holsen: Do they treat you like an 8th grader?
Tayt Vincent: Yeah, they give me some crap sometimes.
Mostly about the fact that Tayt couldn't drive yet like his fellow teammates. But that's all over now; he picked up his license back in July. All joking aside, the players have accepted the youngster and are putting his skills to good use.
"I thought that was the coolest thing ever. You've got a guy that can actually play with older kids. He doesn't look like he's only an eighth grader. He acts like he's older than he is and plays like it too," junior Spencer Hanson said.
Hours spent in the gym over the years as the coach's son are paying off on the court for Tayt. His ability to put up points has already attracted a level of focus from the competition.
"They're well prepared for him and he's going to get a defense that's geared towards stopping him. He's going to draw the other team's best defender a lot of times out on the perimeter,” Bill said. “They're going to make him earn everything he gets and that's good in the long run.”
"I just look at it as a challenge, and I want to be ready for that challenge," Tayt said.
And he'll have plenty of help in the years to ahead.
As Coach Vincent mentioned, his team is without a single senior. Instead Sioux Valley boasts seven juniors.
As for Tayt, he isn't the only underclassman contributing, 6-foot-6 freshman Collin Kramer is the Cossacks sixth man.