PREPS: Ply makes great strides at Dayton
Tim Ply’s only basketball experience before his sophomore year at Dayton High was three seasons in a non-competitive recreational league program.
The 6-foot-5 senior center is doing his best to make up for lost time. He is averaging eight points and 10 rebounds a contest in helping the Dust Devils compile a 7-2 record heading back into Northern 3A play, which starts back up Tuesday at Sparks.
“He’s done a really good job,” Dayton coach Jason Santos said. “I couldn’t be happier. He’s leading us in rebounding and he’s our best free-throw shooter.
“He’s definitely come a long way. He’s helped us a lot. He and Marcos (Macias) are so long. I don’t know how many shots Tim blocked against Yerington, but he got a few. He’s also done a good job of taking charges. I expect him to give us double-digit scoring (and rebounding) every game.”
It’s something Ply is certainly capable of doing, and has done a few times this year.
“Coach wanted me to clog up the middle defensively and grab rebounds,” Ply said before a recent practice. “That has been going well. Teams don’t like to drive the middle because they see Marcos and me in there.
“My foul shooting is strong and my ball-handling has come along as well. I need to work on moves in the low post. I need to work on going to the high side instead of always going to the baseline. We play some four out and one in, so I get the ball in the middle and we run plays off me or I shoot.”
And, Ply has a decent mid-range shot which could really help the Dayton offense, especially if teams are paying extra attention to Macias or Dylan Taylor, who is averaging 17 points a game.
Ply’s progress has been slow, yet steady. He played JV ball as a sophomore, and then last year split time between JV and varsity.
“He was essentially three years behind when he came out his sophomore year,” said Santos, who added that he never laid eyes on Ply until two years ago. “He didn’t play his freshman year. I coached a lot of these kids as seventh-graders and he didn’t play for the middle school.”
That’s because Ply is home schooled by his parents, Kevin and Lynda. Kevin is an adaptive physical education teacher in the Carson City Unified School District.
“Tim went to a Christian school for kindergarten,” Lynda Ply said. “By the time he got to kindergarten, he knew everything except how to put words together. By the end of the year, he was getting into trouble because he was bored.
“I appreciate the time I get to spend with them (the Plys have five children). Our priority in home schooling is balance.”
And, Tim seems pretty well adjusted. Between school, church and sports he leads a very active life.
“I don’t miss the school part (that much),” said Ply. “I get up and get my school work done well before the school day is done. My parents started it, and by the time I was old enough to make the decision I decided to stay with what I was doing.
“I do like it (home school). If I’d had the choice I might have tried public school for a year. Now that I’m this far I might as well graduate this way.”
Lynda Ply said the family moved to Dayton in 2005, and that’s when the law changed allowing home-schooled kids to play school sports. According to Lynda Ply, prior to 2005 it was up to the individual school districts whether kids schooled at home could play at their local school.
“We didn’t really know that the school (Dayton Intermediate) offered sports,” Lynda Ply said. “Nobody told us anything.”
That’s not surprising. Kids that are schooled at home must follow state guidelines. They don’t have that much contact with the local school district.
Ply wanted to play basketball his freshman year, but like many teenagers, his attitude wasn’t the greatest. He continually tested his mom’s limits at home, and it cost him.
“My attitude wasn’t what my parents thought it should be,” Tim Ply said. “My attitude wasn’t good toward my mom.”
“He was testing limits,” Lynda Ply admitted. “He was trying to see what he could get away with. He turned it around in time to play baseball.”
It certainly is a strange situation. Teammates see each other in the hallway, maybe are in classes together and possibly eat lunch together. Ply doesn’t see his teammates until a few minutes before practice.
“It is different, but he does a good job of socializing with the team,” Santos said.