Athlete of the week: Taylor becomes Kimball High School's all-time leading scorerKIMBALL — Jesse Taylor has accomplished a feat which no Kimball basketball player has done since 1965.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
KIMBALL — Jesse Taylor has accomplished a feat which no Kimball basketball player has done since 1965.
The senior became Kimball High School’s all-time leading scorer Thursday during a District 10B basketball game against Mitchell Christian.
Taylor broke Ole Olson’s record of 1,744 points, which was set over the five-year span 1961-1965, on a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter.
“I was told after the game,” said Taylor, who now has 1,780 career points. “I didn’t know. It feels pretty good to get that goal because it’s always been one of mine.”
The 6-foot-2 guard helped lead his team to the District 10B championship after defeating Mitchell Christian 83-50 Thursday and upsetting top-seeded Corsica/Stickney 67-56 Saturday at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
Taylor scored a game-high 32 points in Thursday’s game and a game-high 16 points in Saturday’s win.
For his efforts, Taylor has been named The Daily Republic athlete of the week, an award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.
Kimball/White Lake head coach Kamden Miller said he’s not surprised that Taylor, who’s started since his freshman year, broke the school’s longtime standing record as he and Olson are similar players.
“He has a lot of dedication and determination,” he said. “He makes things look effortless and natural when for others it would be impossible. He’s always looking for opportunities to practice and I hear Ole was the same way.”
Despite Taylor’s natural ability on the court, Miller said Taylor’s unselfish play is what has brought him this far.
“He’s such a mild-mannered young man,” said Miller, whose team is 16-6 this season. “I have to tell him to take over but he’s very unselfish and wants to get his teammates involved. He’s grown down the stretch and he really craves it now.”
As the high school boys’ basketball season approaches its pinnacle, the WiLdKats look to return to the state tournament — something neither school has done since 2003.
White Lake made a state tournament appearance in 2003 where the Wolverines finished sixth, yet Kimball has never qualified for the state’s biggest high school basketball stage. The last opportunity Kimball had to qualify was in 1949 when it lost in a region game.
Kimball/White Lake, which is in the second year of its co-op, has the chance to book its ticket to the Class B boys’ state basketball tournament today.
“I think it’s a testament to the communities,” Miller said. “It’s clear that both teams have struggled at basketball for a while and we’ve had success in the past two years since we’ve come together.
“We’ve talked about being hungry for victories and we’re almost starving for it now.”
The WiLdKats take on James Valley Christian at 6:30 p.m. today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Kimball/White Lake was defeated by James Valley Christian 84-56 in the teams’ only meeting Jan. 4.
Although Taylor is Kimball’s boys’ basketball all-time leading scorer, he said it won’t change how he approaches what could be his final game of his high school career.
“It does feel good, but I still want to go put out my best performance,” Taylor said.
Miller said Taylor and the other seniors on the squad yearn for a state tournament berth, which they can get with a win today.
“Some of the seniors look up at the banners in our gym and there is a banner for everything, but nothing for basketball,” Miller said. “They really want it.”