Already attracting collegiate interest for his cross country achievements, it seems Trevor Lay was running into a bright future.|
However -- and he would be the first to admit this -- basketball is far and away Lay's favorite sport. In fact, Jeff Parsons, Kewanee Wethersfield boys' basketball coach, describes it as Lay's "passion.''
"After playing AAU last summer, I decided to focus on basketball and that I wanted to get better at it,'' said the 5-foot-11 junior guard. "I love getting in the gym and playing, or even going out and shooting by myself. Last summer pretty much made up my mind for me, and I'm glad I made that decision. Once the year started, I realized I'd made the right choice.''
It's that passion that drove Lay to make the tough choice to leave the cross country trails behind and concentrate squarely on the basketball court,. It's a choice he doesn't regret. Nor, for that matter, do Parsons and Lay's Wethersfield teammates after witnessing the exhibition he gave last Tuesday.
Knocking down 18 of his 24 shots (a 75-percent clip) and hitting all but four of his 14 foul shots in a 100-68 win over Ridgewood, this week's Area Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus surpassed his friend, role model and workout partner Nathan Kohler as the Flying Geese's top single-game scorer. Lay's 49 points broke Kohler's mark of 47 set in 2009.
"Nathan was the first guy to text Trevor to congratulate him,'' said Parsons. "A lot of kids probably would not do that.''
What's more, Lay also dished out 12 assists and grabbed five rebounds against Ridgewood. He leads Wethersfield in scoring (20.8 points per game), assists (5.2) and steals (3.1), and is fourth on the team in rebounds at 4.2 per outing.
"He was responsible for 73 of the 100 points we scored, and that's pretty good,'' said Parsons. "Trevor is a special player, and he's worked hard to earn this.With five minutes left in that game, he was at 45, and for all his hard work, I felt I owed it to him to get a shot at the record. Otherwise, we think about winning, not records.''
Adding 24 points in his follow-up game, a 56-42 win over ROWVA, Lay has helped the Geese do just that. Their 18-3 record includes a 6-0 Lincoln Trail Conference mark, putting Wethersfield tied atop the standings with defending champion Galva.
"Coach always tells us we get one chance, and this is my last year with these seniors and I want to make the best of it,'' said Lay. "That's my thought process behind getting in the gym as much as I do -- that it helps benefit the team.''
The Geese's all-time leading scorer with 2,040 points, the man whose record Lay broke helped fine-tune the junior standout's game over the past two years, which is ironic because Lay remembers the night Kohler scored his 47 points against Putnam County.
"I remember being at home that night, and my mom came in and told me, `You should've seen it. Nathan scored 47 tonight.' I never thought I could do something like that,'' he said. "I thought about it, but it seemed insane to have a game like that. I was fortunate enough to get it.''
But it's the winning more than the records that continues to fuel Lay's passion as he wants to take the Flying Geese to greater heights this postseason -- heights he enjoyed on the cross country paths. That would ultimately cement his preseason decision as the right one.
"It was a pretty tough one, especially after going to state,'' said Lay, who placed 59th on the state course at Peoria's Detweiller Park in the fall of 2011. "I know my dad wanted me to run.I thought about it a lot of times, and at times, I felt I should be out there, but I'd definitely make the same decision over and over.''
AREA PACESETTER TREVOR LAY
Favorite food: Any wings from Buffalo Wild Wings
Favorite movie: "Crossover"
Favorite TV show: "Moonshiners"
Favorite school subject: History
Grade-point average 4.0 (5.0 scale)
Favorite college: Duke University
Favorite NBA team: Chicago Bulls
Favorite athlete: Derrick Rose
Role model: Former Wethersfield great and all-time leading scorer Nathan Kohler.
Parents: Shawn and Tricia Lay, Kewanee
IN THE RUNNING:
Jared Richmond, Riverdale: Cut loose for 58 points in Three Rivers wins over Bureau Valley and Erie that kept the Rams in the thick of the conference race.
Celina VanHyfte, Annawan: A previous Area Pacer, the junior center netted 67 points in three wins last week as the LTC Tournament champion Bravettes clinched the Lincoln Trail's regular-season conference title.
Hannah Nimrick, Riverdale: Tallied 32 points in two wins last week to become the first Ram girls' player to achieve 1,400 career points.
Grant Baele and Tony Gripp, Annawan: The duo netted nearly 100 combined points in three games last week, with Gripp going for 29 and Baele 24 points in a 75-45 win over Princeville to open the Lincoln Trail Conference Tournament.
Tyson Nylin, Mercer County: Tallied 32 points in LTC wins over Princeville and Annawan.
Elisha McCreary, Ridgewood: Collected 30 points in two LTC games last week as the Spartans stayed in the conference race.
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