COLUMBIA — Senior guard Skylar Tolson has emerged as the secret weapon for the Rock Bridge boys basketball team.
Tolson is known for a strong offensive game, but he also does the little things that a lot of players often forget.
“He’s always talking,” sophomore guard Justin Miller said. “Whenever we’re down, Skylar pulls us back together. He builds everyone’s confidence.”
Rock Bridge (26-2) vs. Branson (27-2)
WHEN: 1 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla (Bullman Multipurpose Building)
Tolson scored 13 points in the Bruins’ 59-46 victory against Waynesville on Wednesday night in sectional play. The Bruins, who are three victories away from a state championship, and will play Branson at 1 p.m., Saturday at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.
While senior forward Jordan Dressler and junior guard Ricky Kreklow are the
Bruins’ most dangerous offensive threats, Tolson enjoys going about his work away from the limelight.
“I don’t need attention,” Tolson said. “If we win, I’m happy. The people that should notice me are my family and friends, and they do.”
Tolson said his family has always been influential in his
passion for basketball. He remembers his dad teaching him how to do a
finger roll with a basketball when he was 2 years old.
Because Tolson has been playing basketball so long, he recognizes it is just as important to play defense and get the easy points as it is to do the more noticeable things like make the perfect pass and shoot the perfect layup.
“I let my teammates do a lot of the work for me,” Tolson said. “I let the game come to me. I do the little things to help the team succeed. Sometimes I’ll hear opposing kids snicker and say, ‘this kid can’t shoot.’ I’m not flashy and I don’t try to be.”
Coach Jim Scanlon said Tolson’s work ethic is second to none.
“He’s our best leader,” Scanlon said. “He’s a good kid. I wish we had 10 others like him. He never takes a minute off.”
Shooting is actually one of the strongest points of Tolson’s game. He is one of the team’s best three-point shooters.
Dressler said it is key to have a third offensive option like Tolson on the team.
“If they’re guarding me and Ricky (Kreklow), it opens up the door for Skylar,” Dressler said. “He’s deadly at the three-point line. When he gets going, you can’t stop him.”
Tolson and Dressler have been friends since the third grade. They have played on the same team for years before high school. Because they know each other so well, it allows them to keep each other on top of their game.
“We compliment each other a lot,” Tolson said. “Sometimes I’ll get flustered and he’ll help me and vice versa. My mom jokes that we’re like brothers. We argue and then we’re fine a few minutes later.”
Just like brothers, Tolson and Dressler do not shy away from taking cheap shots at one another.
“He’s a great guy to be around,” Dressler said. “He’s a leader. He sucks up to coach a little bit, but someone has to do it.”
Tolson responded, “I wouldn’t say it’s sucking up. Some people who slack off, like Jordan, might consider it sucking up.”
Tolson "never takes a minute off" according to his coach and doesn’t plan on changing this.
“Any time you win a state championship, it’s a reflection of your team,” Tolson said. “If we don’t win, it won’t be because of a lack of effort.”