Kevin Colley, Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — As a single mother, Melody Sexton has always provided her son, Kyle, with all the love and support he’s ever needed. Because of that, Kyle has grown into the young man, and basketball player, that he is today.
Now a powerful 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, who continues to develop on essentially a game-by-game basis, it’s clear that Kyle Sexton appreciates the extra roles his mom takes on for the family.
Sexton, who has clearly turned potential into production, mirrors his mom’s work ethic on the basketball court.
Last season, he was a second-team Division IV all-Southeast District honoree who averaged 14 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks a game. This year, still averaging a double-double, Sexton has led the Tigers to 15 wins.
And he only continues to get better.
“It has felt amazing to be a part of the New Boston basketball program,” Sexton said. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else. [New Boston coach] Adam [Cox] has really changed the whole culture in the entire village.”
Cox was complimentary of Sexton as well, making sure to point out his unrivaled work ethic.
“Kyle goes to the gym with me at 6 a.m.,” Cox said. “After the season’s over, he takes 28 days off, and then he’s right back in the gym playing basketball. No calling off. No missing. It’s ‘Coach, pick me up, please.’ He’s in there at 6 a.m. and is in there working for an hour and a half until school starts. If you’re a young kid out there and you want to talk about a kid with work ethic and heart, take a look at Kyle Sexton. He’s a great role model.”
Sexton, throughout his two-year basketball career to date, has led New Boston to heights in which the program hasn’t seen since the beginning of the 21st century. As a freshman, the difference-making combo forward took a program that had won four combined games between 2015 and 2017 to 16 wins in the 2017-18 season alone.
This season, Sexton and New Boston are 15-6 overall with one conference game left against Western on Monday. Their only conference losses are to SOC I champion Eastern and to Western in the two’s first meeting.
The most impressive fact, however, has been how Sexton and fellow returning starter Tyler Caldwell have been just as effective playing alongside a new cast of characters.
In 2017-18, Sexton and Caldwell played with a group that was led by upperclassmen, including SOC I Player of the Year Kade Conley. This winter, it’s been Sexton, Caldwell, returner Malachi Potts, and a litany of newcomers including Marcus Saunders, Grady Jackson, and Jerome McKinley.
“I wouldn’t trade any of the guys that I’ve had the opportunity to play alongside for the world,” Sexton said. “Playing with Kade [Conley], Kyle [McQuithy], and Drake [Truitt], and the other seniors as a freshman, and helping them turn the program around was a special experience. Having Tyler [Caldwell], Larkin [Branham], Jacob [Hayes], and Malachi [Potts] as upperclassmen is great, too. I’m a New Boston kid and I’ve grown up with all of these guys. It’s like a brotherhood.”
In both seasons, New Boston, even in their losses, has been competitive.
In five of their six defeats this year, the Tigers have fallen by single digits.
The youthful unit’s belief that they can compete in any game is fueled, mostly, by Cox — an intense coach who isn’t afraid to let his players hear it if the second-year New Boston leader feels they’re not playing up to snuff.
“It’s great,” Sexton said. “He wants the best for each and every one of us. He lets us play our game but will be sure to put us in check if we put ourselves above the team. It’s all about hard work and body language. He is sure to hold us accountable.”
Of course, holding hard-working players like Sexton accountable isn’t a hard task.
“Kyle’s motor doesn’t quit, whether he’s having a good game or a bad game,” Cox said following New Boston’s 60-52 loss to Eastern on Feb. 8. “We’ve got to have people who mirror that. The more people that mirror Kyle Sexton and his motor, the better chance we’ll have to win.”
Going forward, Sexton has big goals from team and individual standpoints as his desire to win a state championship and obtain a basketball scholarship suggest.
“I just want to help New Boston win its first state title and receive a basketball scholarship so I can further my education for free,” Sexton said. “The Village of New Boston deserves it.”
Wherever he goes, however, it’s clear that Melody Sexton will have a guiding hand on a son that tries his best to make good on the hard work his mother has put in to raise him.
“My primary factor for motivation has to be my mom,” Sexton said. “As a single mother, she’s done an amazing job. I just want to make her proud.”