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A New Scoring King
Kase Wynott's passion, work ethic spurs drive to eclipse state scoring record
Published: 1/26/2024 8:59:14 AM
 

ORDER GAME PHOTOS

LAPWAI, Idaho — The basket Kase Wynott scored Thursday night to break the Idaho boys state scoring record was fitting for Lapwai’s 6-foot-6 senior. It wasn’t a 3-pointer from way beyond the arc or a thunderous dunk, although he’s had his fair share of those on the march to eclipsing the 31-year-old mark of 2,589 set by Kamiah’s Jared Mercer.

This record-setter was a simple put back early in the second quarter of Lapwai’s 99-47 victory over Clearwater. Kase finished the game with 29 points.






The Utah State-signee accepted a commemorative basketball trophy at halftime, which he accepted with an almost sheepish look on his face in front of the home crowd.

It feels great,” Kase said of achieving the record after the game. “All the fans came out and supported us—and we put on a show. I can’t thank my teammates and coaches and our fans enough.”

Perhaps even more impressive is that Kase established this record while sharing the court with another all-time Idaho standout in Titus Yearout.

Yearout, who finished eighth in career scoring for Idaho with 2,034 points, played for two seasons with Kase before going on to play for the University of Idaho.

After Kase finished his junior season with a career total of 1,991 points, he started thinking about the possibility of breaking the state record.

It was definitely in the back of my mind, but you just never know,” he said. “After I got so close after last season, I knew I wanted to get the record.”

Kase made up so much ground by etching his name next to another Idaho record last season—most points scored in a season with 952. He also led the state in assists with 199.

And while Kase is proud of what he’s accomplished during his time at Lapwai, he didn’t hesitate when questioned about what mattered more to him—a state record or another state title.

If I had to pick one, I’d rather win state,” Kase said. “I still think about the other championship to this day.”

The fact that Kase’s only won a single title during his first three seasons is a little surprising. Lapwai won his sophomore year, but lost 81-79 in a heartbreaker last season to Lakeside.

And while he’s piled up plenty of accolades, that’s the one he wants to add to the most in March.

Winning is the most important thing to me,” he said. “Scoring takes a backseat when it comes to winning.”





PASSION FOR THE GAME

None of what Kase has accomplished in his illustrious career is a surprise to anyone, given both his passion for the game and his relentless work ethic.

His varsity coach, Zach Eastman, said there’s no doubt that Kase’s passion is what’s allowed him to become one of the state’s all-time greats.

Kase missed summer vacation, school dances, and all the events a normal kid would do during the off season,” Eastman said. “He was in the gym, lifting weights with one goal and priority in mind—to become the best basketball player he can become.”

Eastman has watched his other players catch Kase’s fire.

Kase’s love for the game of basketball is contagious, and he makes other people around him love basketball even more,” Eastman said. “He’s a role model for our youth and his legacy in Idaho was cemented tonight. He will go down as being one of the best players statistically that Idaho has ever seen.”

But Eastman knows all too well that Kase’s meteoric rise to the top of the state’s record book didn’t happen overnight. It happened in those quiet moments in the gym, working to improve his shot.

Every morning, Kase gets up at 5 a.m. so he can get to school early and take 500 shots using the shooting trainer machine before classes start.

I’ll get in my shots every morning,” Kase said. “And sometimes I’ll go in after a game to get some extra shots. Being able to shoot is so important in today’s game.”

That was something his father Jeremiah Wynott understood as Kase started showing an interesting in the sport. And he wanted to make sure that even if his tall son was used as a post player, he was going to know how to handle the basketball.

“I was 6-8, so I was a post player and that’s all I did,” Jeremiah said of his position assignment in high school. “I knew early on Kase could be around my height, and the way basketball is today, that’s the height of a guard in the NBA or college. He’s always been tall for his age, but also able to play outside and mid-range. I thought it was important for him not to be pigeon-holed into a post player.”

That decision to mold him into a more versatile player has paid big dividends, allowing him to attract the eye of first-year Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle, who’d offered Kase a scholarship before leaving Montana State this past season. But Sprinkle knew he had a gem in Kase and was adamant about getting him on his roster wherever he was coaching.

That coaching staff really made Kase feel wanted,” said Jeremiah Wynott, who played collegiately at Lewis-Clark State College and later in Australia for a couple of seasons.

LEVELING UP

Jeremiah recognized that if Kase was going to improve his game, he needed to be playing against the best competition possible, something that required a commitment to traveling. Kase made the Idaho Select AAU travel team out of Boise and has had more opportunities to fine tune his talents.

And it was at one of those tournaments that Kase woke up to just how much more work he would need to put in to become great.

I played in a tournament once after my freshman season with Jack Payne,” Kase said of the former Owyhee standout, now a freshman playing for Colorado State. “I saw how he was dunking in warmups and then in the game, and I wanted to be able to do that.”

Kase was 6-2 his freshman season and sprouted three inches over the summer, all while working on his vertical and hitting the weight room to shed 20 pounds.

He finished his freshman season without a dunk. But his sophomore year, he dunked in games 45 times.

Just another weapon in his arsenal.

If my team needs me to do the big man stuff, I can do that too and post up,” said Kase, who said he tries to pattern his game after one of his on-court heroes, LeBron James. “But I know that my team needs me to score to win, and that’s why I’ve worked so hard on it.”

Thursday night’s victory improved Lapwai’s record to 15-2 overall, and 10-0 in the Whitepine League. As long as Wynott continues to score at a high level, and get his teammates involved (he averages just under ten assists per game), the sky’s the limit for these Wildcats.





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