Hard work pays off for Marietta junior Tyler Kytta

Marietta’s Tyler Kytta (22) goes up for one his nine 3-pointers during a high school boys basketball game against Federal Hocking Saturday at Sutton Gym. Kytta scored 32 points as Marietta won, 83-70. Photo by Jordan Holland

Sometimes, a player just gets in the zone.

This was the case for Tyler Kytta Saturday. The Marietta High junior scored 32 points in a win over Federal Hocking at Sutton Gym. As Kytta said after the game, “I was just in the zone.”

However, there’s a bit more to it than that. A player doesn’t just find the zone by chance. A lot of hard work and preparation make that opportunity possible, and Kytta works as hard as any hooper in the area.

“Other than Ben Howlett, I would say in the last 15 years, no one has spent as much time in the gym as Tyler,” said Marietta head coach J.D. Secrest. “He’s always wanting to come in early, stay after and I’m sure the quarantine has driven him crazy. When the state let us in the gym June 1st, he was here and he was at everything all summer long, even days where we didn’t have anything.”

Against the Lancers, all the hard work for Kytta paid off as he drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer. He made eight 3s in the first half alone and another one in the second half for a total of nine. He also had a pair of two-point baskets, one resulting in an and-one, adding up to 32 points.

“Just kept firing and they went in,” Kytta said. “All the credit to my teammates. They found me when I was open, and I had the easy part — just hit shots.”

Kytta was able to find open spaces in the floor, and when he got the ball he made Federal Hocking pay.

“They were playing decent defense, but their hand was down, so I just took advantage and put it in,” he said.

“The past few games I’ve been not as aggressive, so I wanted to come out (Saturday) and be more aggressive. Just had that in my head the whole first half and the whole game.”

He finished the game 11 for 18 from the floor and 9 for 14 from the 3-point line.

“We knew Tyler had that in him,” Secrest said.

“These kids definitely put the work in and it’s nice to see a kid get rewarded on a night like this. It was impressive. I would say not since Ben Howlett have we had somebody fill it up like that tonight.”

The Tigers have had some good shooters over the years, but none more successful than Howlett, who currently is the men’s basketball coach at West Liberty. Howlett is another example of hard work of paying off, as former Marietta coach Ron Warner can attest.

“I remember back in high school, Ben was shooting 500 shots per day in the summertime to help become the best player he could be,” Warner recalled. “He went ahead and became the boys’ leading scorer at Marietta High School. His passion for basketball has been there as long as I’ve known him. He’s taken that passion into the coaching field.”

For Kytta, it’s not the first time he’s had a game like this.

“I have scored 30 in middle school,” he recalled, “but not since then.”

If he keeps putting in the work, it may not be the last.

Jordan Holland is an associate sports editor for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at jholland@mariettatimes.com.


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