As Loyalsock forward Ben Sosa prepared for a foul shot last Saturday against Mid Valley, point guard Kyle Datres shouted ensuing defensive instructions.
Sosa had his head down at the time and did not hear them. Datres walked over, lifted up Sosa's chin and made sure he acknowledged receiving the message. It was an easy sequence to miss, but it perfectly illustrated who Datres is.
He might only be a sophomore, but Datres has become the ultimate leader.
Loyalsock’s Kyle Datres dribbles around a Mid-Valley defender last week during a PIAA?playoff game at Williamsport.
"Kyle is an unbelievable leader," fellow guard Mike Pastore said. "He shows it on the court and he stays on us and tells us where we need to be at during the game."
A player with a burning desire to win and a keen basketball intellect to match, Datres will do whatever it takes to put every Lancer in the proper position. The sophomore speaks volumes with his production but does just as much through his leadership.
The last of four talented athletes to compete at Loyalsock, Datres has watched siblings Kelli, Kory and Kerri excel over the years. His father Lynn, Kory and Kerri all are currently coaching or have coached. Basically, Kyle has learned through osmosis. He has been in the perfect position over the years and has soaked up all the knowledge, all the experiences.
Now it his turn to show what he has learned and Datres has become a near player-coach. Now he is the one putting others in the right position.
"Kyle is an invaluable resource on the court because he is so heady and he has such great vision. Sometimes I think he has eyes in the back of his head because he just knows exactly where everyone is," Loyalsock coach Ron Insinger said. "That's like having almost two coaches on the floor. He knows enough about the game that he feels conformable changing defenses and that is a liberty we give him."
A standout quarterback last fall, Datres audibled after Communications Tech took a 16-3 first-quarter lead in Wednesday's Class AA second-round game. The defensive switch worked and the Lancers rallied for a 51-48 win. Loyalsock (26-3) reached the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1995 and next plays Trinity on Saturday at Martz Hall.
Still, Datres would not have the liberty or the universal team respect he does if he could not play. The sophomore does not just talk the game, he also plays it extremely well. Datres averages close to 10 assists per game and is one of District 4's best defenders. He also is closing in on older brother Kory's single-season assist record.
Datres is one of several weapons Loyalsock possesses. He can score too, but is a terrific facilitator. All those who do not believe a player can have a huge impact on a game without scoring need only watch Datres play to realize how wrong they are.
"He is a player that can see the whole court," center Roger Wilson said. "He makes great passes. He is all over. He is a true point guard."
Datres opened his postseason by dealing 13 assists in a 68-57 district quarterfinal win over Bloomsburg. He added 10 assists in the semifinals against state-ranked Lewisburg before displaying his scoring punch in the final against Wellsboro. In that game, Datres posted up at times and blocked four shots while playing stellar defense. In four wins against Lewisburg, Datres held standout guard Travis Conrad to nine points or fewer each time.
Talk about having the whole package.
"He's not always the leading scorer but he knows where to be and he puts people in the right spot at the right time and he gets the job done," Pastore said. "He does it all."
That includes playing like every game is his last. Datres plays with a toughness, a determination that is contagious.
It has rubbed off on all his teammates too. Loyalsock has been involved in many close games this season, including each one in the playoffs. The Lancers continue prevailing. They have won 11 straight while avenging their only defeat to a non Class AAAA team. Whatever happens, Loyalsock believes it will win.
Their sophomore leader has a lot to do with that.
"He plays hard ball for 32 minutes. He has that drive, that mentality that he refuses to lose," Insinger said. "You see it when he's at bat, you see him when he's throwing the ball on the football field, he wants the ball at crunch time. He has so much confidence. I just can't imagine what the next two years are going to bring especially if he has the same work ethic."
Forget the next two years. The next game is all Datres cares about. And he wants to help lead Loyalsock somewhere it has not been in since 1993.