Coyle's best basketball player, and perhaps the best player in Class B, Tony Aska Jr., is used to competing in State Fair Arena — but as a cowboy, not a Bluejacket.
Aska has participated in several rodeos in the building, but he's never played a basketball game in the Big House.
On Thursday, Aska finally gets his chance as the 6-6 senior forward leads No. 5 Coyle into the Class B state tournament for the first time since 2008.
Aska admits he will have butterflies before Thursday's game, but he does before every game.
“I get nervous every time,” Aska said. “I get nervous when I get on top of a horse and I have been riding horses for 17 years.”
His opponents would seemingly be more nervous. Aska is recording a double-double about every time he steps on the basketball floor, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. And he's usually playing just three quarters for the 23-4 Bluejackets.
In Coyle's Class B regional final victory against Asher, Aska had a triple-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks.
Aska, who has 97 blocks on the season, is being recruited by several junior colleges and Division II schools in the state. He has grown 5 inches taller in the last two years.
“His wingspan is incredibly long,” Coyle coach Josh Sumrall said. “Obviously, his presence on the floor is a big deal for us, and it allows us to do some things that not everybody gets to do.”