The Young Men Behind the Uniforms
T.J. Morgan, Jobe Publishing, Inc.
The Metcalfe County Hornets have been led on the basketball court this season by the dynamic duo of seniors Jax Allen and Wyatt Blythe. These two young men sat down for a Q&A to discuss basketball, life, and their future plans after high school.
Jax, Wyatt, both of you have had successful careers at MCHS. Both of you will have your names forever hanging in Metcalfe County High School Gymnasium (1,000-point club). You both have spent 5 years in a Hornet uniform, playing games both in Diddle (regional tournament) and at Richmond (All A State tournament). What do you credit for your success?
Jax – Putting in a lot of work outside of practice. You can’t just shoot during practice and expect to be great, you have to go the extra mile to be great.
Wyatt – I’d give a lot of credit to my parents and coaches, and myself for the time and dedication I’ve put in the game.
Who do you view as the most influential person in your basketball career?
Jax – I would say my dad (MCHS Basketball Assistant Coach John Allen). He is someone who is very experienced in the game of basketball. He has pushed me to go to the gym and has been with me every step of the way.
Wyatt – John Allen and Matt Reed (MCHS Basketball Assistant Coach). They took us in when we were very little and stuck with us for a long time until Coach Brockman (MCHS Basketball Head Coach) took over and I give him a lot of credit too.
Wyatt, you have had to battle a lot of injuries in your career. How frustrating has it been to go through those injuries and how hard has it been to overcome them?
Wyatt – I have had a lot. It started when I was in middle school. I was playing AAU and was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter in both my knees. It’s just always sore. There was one point where it got so bad I would fall on the ground and I couldn’t pick myself up. It’s never really went away. It got me down. I went through that and then I rolled my ankle three or four times this year. It’s a lot, but Samantha [Perry] (Metcalfe County Sports Trainer) does a good job of helping me recover.
When you look back at previous Hornet greats, is there anyone you feel like you have shaped your game after?
Jax – If there is someone I spent a lot of the time in the gym with that I picked up a lot of their habits, it would be Boston Devore (2021 MCHS graduate and 1,000-point club member). We both really grew together as players in the gym.
Most of the Hornet fans are familiar with your time in a varsity uniform, but how long have you been playing together and what is the earliest memory either of you can recall of being on the same team?
Jax – We have been playing with each other since our 3rd grade travel team. The first game we ever played together was in the Old School Gym against Green County. They would be our rival for years to come, but we actually ended up winning that first game together.
Are there any specific memories of playing together between that point and HS that really stand out in your minds?
Jax – Middle school ball was really fun. Our 7th grade year we had the best record in the conference. We ended up coming up short in the tournament that year. We had a big rivalry with Casey County. We beat them the next year in the conference semifinals and came up just short in the finals. (A rare middle school game to be carried by local radio). Middle school ball was great.
Wyatt – I’d have to agree with Jax.
With district approaching, obviously winning a district championship in front of a home crowd would rank pretty high on the list of joys any Hornet wishes to experience. Is there any win throughout your career that you can revisit and still feel the joy from that game?
Jax – Definitely the 2021 district championship (a 70-64 win over Clinton County) or the 2020 Class A championship (a 51-38 win over Monroe County). The Class A stands out a lot because we were building back up the program and to win that championship and to see how much of an impact it had on the community, it was huge.
Wyatt – The semis of the 2020 Class A tournament against Clinton at Cumberland County would have to be one of my favorite games. (A game that saw Wyatt make a big three from the top of the key that led the Hornets to a 52-50 win)
It is often said that great players hate losing more than they enjoy winning. Is there a loss you can still feel the sting from?
Jax – My junior year in the Class A championship, playing Clinton County at home. It was back and forth all game. We were up 1 or tied, guarding an inbounds play, the kid I was guarding cut and I got caught on a screen, my man hit a shot. That crushed me. To this day, that one still hurts.
Wyatt – I hate losing, but after we lose I try not to think about it.
Both of you had career high 36 point games this season. Jax you had 36 at home against a really good Somerset team and Wyatt you had a 36 point game at district rival Cumberland County. Can you walk me through what it’s like in the moment? What goes through your mind during those games?
Jax – You’re in a different zone. It’s you, the rim, and the ball. I’m him, I’m the one who is going to make this shot and you’re not going to stop me.
Wyatt – I’d agree with Jax. Those games are just different, you just get into a zone and you have all the confidence in the world.
With the district tournament being at home this season, how important is it in your senior year to have that big crowd at important games like those?
Jax – I love when I walk out of the locker room and I see that maroon and white filling up the bleachers, because it makes you feel like the town is behind you. You want to win the championship for your town. When you see the fans in the stands we try our best to bring home the W for them.
Wyatt – I love when you look up there and the crowd is packed. I don’t like those games where the gym is quiet. I like it to be packed and hear the fans yelling.
Your time as a Hornet is approaching an end. What do Jax Allen and Wyatt Blythe plan to do after high school?
Jax – I’m either going to play basketball at EKU or I’m going to go to WKU as a student.
Wyatt – I’m going to SKYCTC for couple years and find what I want to do in life.
If you can take a second to look back over your career, knowing everything you do now, what would be your message to future Hornets?
Jax – When you’re young and things aren’t going your way don’t let it define your career. There are some people when adversity hits they walk away from the game. My sophomore year I got sick and I came back and never really played like I was capable of playing. I was in a really bad place and I wasn’t enjoying it. That offseason I spent most of my time in the gym or on the basketball court in my backyard. Don’t let one season define your career. Always keep improving.
Wyatt – Across all age groups, have fun and try your hardest every single day.
Lastly, what is one thing you want Hornet fans to know or always remember about Jax Allen?
Jax – I want them to remember that I try hard in the classroom. I pay attention in the classroom. I take my academics seriously. I try my best to be a good student. Going back to basketball, I don’t want people to only remember me scoring, but I want people to remember the rebounds I grabbed (Jax has grabbed nearly 700 rebounds, making him a member of the 500 rebound club), the loose balls I dove after, the charges I took. I want people to remember my hustle.
What is one thing you want Hornet fans to know or always remember about Wyatt Blythe?
Wyatt – I go out there and give it my all, not just on the basketball court, but off it as well, being a good person and positive around other people.
Jax and Wyatt have developed into the perfect combination on the floor for the Hornets. Wyatt became the quick assassin to the rim, beating the opponents’ best defender. Jax became the workhorse, knocking it down from 15 or finishing at the basket with a man hanging on each shoulder. Both young men just as dangerous from outside the arc. For those who have been lucky enough to watch Jax and Wyatt’s entire careers, it’s a bittersweet time. They have been able to watch all of their accomplishments and all of their heartbreaks. For those who only have the more recent memories of Jax and Wyatt in varsity uniforms, the end of the season will bring the end of an era.
For five years Hornet fans have been able to enjoy at guard, the 6’2’’ senior from Lone Star Ridge, number 2, Wyatt Blythe, and at other guard, the 6’3’’ senior from Bridgewater Heights, number 30, Jax Allen. As the young men find themselves entering their last postseason, they will look not only to leave their names in the rafters, but their senior season hanging from a banner, ever cementing their team’s legacy in Metcalfe County basketball lore.
What an article!!! Both have represented the 16th well.