Top Performer: Joe Sayler
WHITE RIVER, S.D. – Over the past several years, White River has had a number of talented players participate in its boys basketball program.
That has led to the Tigers qualifying for the State ‘B’ basketball tournament every year since 2006.
Joe Sayler is the latest in a long list of players who hopes to lead the Tigers back to the state tournament for the 17th year in a row.
In White River’s season opening win over Pine Ridge on Dec. 15th, Joe Sayler scored 32 points.
The next day, he hit for 37 against Rapid City Christian.
An impressive start for a junior from a small western South Dakota community.
“I credit not only myself, but I credit my team and my coaches as well that’s helped me through this journey,” said Joe Sayler. “I credit God as he’s been guiding me through this all too. It’s been awesome playing the game that I love and I’m just going to continue to work and continue to grow often on the court.”
Sayler is picking up where he left off last season.
As a sophomore, he averaged 29 points and six rebounds per game.
So far this season, Sayler is averaging over 32 points per contest.
“He puts in the time,” said White River boys basketball coach Eldon Marshall. “He’s a gym rat. So he’s always in the gym working on his game. I think more than that he’s a team player. We look for him to score and he can score whenever he needs to. But he’s very coach-able. Does whatever’s asked of him. Great kid off the court. Great leader by example for us.”
Sayler has the White River Tigers off to a 4-1 start and ranked third in the latest Class ‘B’ basketball polls.
Although Sayler leads the team in scoring, he feels the Tigers success is a team effort.
“We love each other and we’re always with each other,” said Sayler. “We go to the gym together. We’re in the hotel room together. We’re all just been bonding and it’s been awesome.”
Coach Marshall says Sayler has a great work ethic and leads by example.
He adds that Sayler is the type of player who can take over a game at any given moment.
“Any time a team can have someone as a go to player that can score, that’s huge,” said Marshall. “And we have that in him. But he knows too that teams can focus on him and that opens up his teammates and he’ll get it to them if needed. But when it’s crunch time, we’re looking to get the ball in Joe’s hands for sure.”
The junior has already committed to continue his basketball career at South Dakota State University.
“That is very exciting,” said Sayler. “I can’t wait to get up there. But that’s definitely not my focus right now. I’m focusing on our team and what we have to accomplish this year.”
Congratulations to Joe Sayler for being named a NewsCenter1 Top Performer.
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