Jan. 14—CHEYENNE — Kysar Jolley wouldn't have been surprised if he didn't see varsity action for Cheyenne East last season.
The junior moved to Cheyenne from Casper after his freshman year playing for Kelly Walsh, but quickly stood out last year with his athleticism and his length, East coach Rusty Horsley said.
Now, after making his fair share of contributions during his sophomore campaign, Jolley has asserted himself as a cornerstone of East's 9-1 start.
"He's really athletic, and we knew that he could rebound well (last season)," Horsley said. "He's really worked hard to get to where's he at. He's one of those kids that's going to put the time in and do what it takes. He's put in the work in the weight room, and he's gotten a lot stronger, and I've been impressed with that."
Jolley currently leads East with 8.4 rebounds per game, which also is tied for fourth in Class 4A. His 4.7 offensive boards per game leads the state. His efforts on the glass have helped the T-Birds become the top rebounding team in the classification as conference play nears.
Originally, Jolley never anticipated spending his time on the hardwood, but rather on the wrestling mat. The success he had rebounding was one of the reasons for the transition between the sports.
"I started playing basketball in seventh grade, but I was always a wrestler growing up," he said. "I would always only go for rebounds, because that's all I could do at that point, and I've just worked my butt off to get where I am now."
The success for the 6-foot-4 forward can be attributed to that hard work, but also comes from being coachable, Horsley said.
"He's a great kid, a great teammate, and it's what we preach around here," the coach said. "He's going to give you everything he's got all the time ... and he takes coaching well. You can get on him, and he'll take that and turn it around and do better for himself."
East lost three of its top four scorers from last season's roster, meaning Jolley would have the opportunity and could be relied on to be a threat offensively. Being able to adapt and becoming more of a factor in the post has helped him do that. Shooting at a 53% mark, he's averaging 8.3 points per outing.
Jolley credits East's style of play as being another key factor in his offensive success and the team's offensive success as a whole. The T-Birds are currently the highest-scoring team in 4A at 65.4 points per game.
"We work as a team, and we can really run the floor and move a lot faster than other teams, even with how big we are," Jolley said. "I like how we push the pace with our size. It makes us even harder to stop."
Between the rebounding numbers and taking that next step offensively, Jolley said he can see himself as a consistent double-double player. Coming off a weekend where he was a big reason for helping his team go 3-0, its easy to see he's starting to find his footing for the fourth-ranked T-Birds.
"I've really been trying to pull down rebounds, and these last few games I've been scoring more and more," he said. "I'm really starting to get in a groove this season."
In the pool
The East and Cheyenne South swimming and diving teams will compete against Evanston and Rock Springs at 4 p.m. today at South, while Cheyenne Central hosts Thunder Basin for a 4 p.m. dual.
Central, East and South travel to Laramie on Saturday for a quadrangular.
On the court
The East boys and girls travel to Riverton today, where the girls play at 6 p.m. and the boys take the court at 7:30 p.m. They'll both host Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on Saturday, with the girls game at 3:30 p.m. and the boys at 5 p.m.
Central visits Scottsbluff today for a doubleheader. The girls game is set to tip at 5:30 p.m., and the boys game will follow. In Class 3A, Burns will host Douglas today, with the girls slated to start at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. Both Douglas squads are the top-ranked teams in 3A. Burns hosts Buffalo on Saturday at 3 p.m. (girls) and 4:30 p.m. (boys).
Pine Bluffs will play host to Southeast for a doubleheader starting with the girls at 5:30 p.m. and the boys at 7 p.m. today. The Hornets will travel to Holyoke, Colorado, where the girls play at 3:30 p.m. and the boys take the court at 5 p.m. Saturday.
On the mat
Central and South will compete at the Bill Thoman Jr. Memorial Duals today and Saturday in Green River. East will compete at the Arvada (Colo.) West Invite today and Saturday. Burns-Pine Bluffs travels to Torrington to take part in the Blazer Duals on Saturday.
On the track
The Burns-Pine Bluffs, Central, East and South indoor track teams all open the season at the Natrona County Invite on Saturday in Casper.
Robert Munoz is a writer for WyoSports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rmunoz307.