Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

June 10, 2014

BASKETBALL: Persons has strong showing

Kokomo Kat does a little bit of everything in All-Stars' win

LOGANSPORT — Want to see what Tayler Persons can do on the basketball court? Take a look at his stat line from Monday night.

Playing for the Indiana All-Stars against the Indiana Junior squad as a tune-up for the two-game series with Kentucky on Friday and Saturday, Persons scored seven points, took seven rebounds and had a game-high seven assists in the All-Stars’ 140-91 victory over the Juniors. He also had two steals.

The Wildkat guard played 18 minutes off the bench and was characteristically active on both ends of the floor.

“What a great competitor,” Junior team assistant coach Chad Ballenger said. Ballenger, the coach at Hamilton Heights, is a former Kokomo assistant and Eastern coach. “It’s fun watching him on there. When you’ve seen the career he’s had and come back from that injury, just a junkyard dog. Looking from the other side watching him, he’s just the kind of kid that you want to be on his team.”

Persons’ primary role on the All-Stars on Monday night was to open up the defense with driving and passing. Almost instantly upon entering with 15:36 left in the first half, Persons found a cutting James Blackmon Jr. for the Marion star to score a scoop layup. Persons got off a few more good passes to create chances before his first bucket, one of his trademark runners in the lane with 10:53 left.

Persons had four assists in the first half to help the All-Stars take a 60-49 lead at the break. He had three more assists in the second half as the All-Stars blew the game open after halftime with tight defense that led to a flood of hoops on the break.

“I need to come in and, like a role I’ve always had, be a leader, bring energy to the team and whatever they ask me to do,” Persons said. “They need me to hit 3s, score, rebound, defense, anything to make the team better and I feel my leadership is a big part of the game.”

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