As his high school basketball days wind down, Dillon Voyles has learned to appreciate each moment on the court in a way he never used to.
“It’s way different now. Everything is my last time now. There’s no next year,” Voyles said. “Just take everything in and enjoy it all.”
Voyles has helped the Grizzlies to a 13-3 record overall, 5-1 in league. He is averaging 22.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, both team highs.
The 6-foot-6 Voyles has been on the varsity since his freshman year at Galena, coached by his father, Brian Voyles the whole time.
Dillon Voyles said improving his outside shooting has been a big focus this year, as well as being more consistent in every aspect of the game.
“My all-around game, I’ve worked so hard on it. I try to have no weakness in my game,” he said.
The Grizzlies’ lone league loss, 58-42 to Spanish Springs on Dec. 16, helped Voyles and all the players see what they need to work on. Galena won three of its next four games at a tournament in Southern Nevada and has won two since returning to league play. Galena plays at Carson (4-9, 1-1) on Tuesday.
Marcus Loadholt led the Cougars in the win over Galena on that December night with 23 points. Loadholt, also a senior, and Voyles are best friends and have been for several years, since they played on the Reno Ballers team together before high school. Now they both play for the Nevada Wolverines, along with many of the top players from Northern Nevada.
“It was an eye opener for us because they exposed everything we need to work on. In a way, it was a good loss because we can grow on it and get better,” Galena senior Dillon Voyles said of that loss. “We want to finish strong.”
Galena beat Reno, also one of the top teams in the North, 51-48, on Tuesday, then took a 6-point win over Reed on Friday.
The Grizzles won the Northern 4A championship in the 2014-15 season. That team had three seniors, just as this season’s team does, Duncan Hepler and Stettler Anderson, in addition to Voyles.
Voyles has thrived in the leadership role that comes with being a senior.
“Being a freshman (on the varsity), it opens your eyes to see the leadership. Leadership is a huge thing on a team,” Voyles said. “I feel I’ve grown a lot from my freshman year, to being a leader on this team. … It’s important that we all have leadership.”
Moses Wood, a 6-7 junior on the Galena team, said Voyles has been a good leader and role model as he tries to pick up the team in practice.
“He’s gotten me tougher and trying to go to the basket more,” Wood said. “Sometimes, I’ll just float around and shoot 3s or outside shots. He’s encouraging me to drive to the basket more.”
Brian Voyles has seen his son grow into a leadership role.
Since most teams know about him, and try to stop him, Brian said that opens up the floor for the other players.
It has also expanded his game.
“Go get the ball off the rim. There’s a lot of points there. We miss enough shots. It’s important finding different ways to score. This year has forced him to do that more than it did before,” Brian Voyles said.
Voyles coached his daughters in basketball at Hug, so he knows how tough it can be to coach a relative.
Although he’s gone through it, coaching a child has not gotten easier.
“You say it’s never personal, but it’s hard not to be a little personal, that’s your son,” he said.
He talked to former Reed coach Paul Grey, and some other area fathers about coaching their children to get their advice.
“I was still terrible my first year I tried to do it. I was way too expectant. If the lights blinked, it was their fault,” he said. “It was that kind of mentality. It’s a different dynamic.”
Voyles is getting attention from college coaches, mostly smaller schools in the Big Sky Conference and Division II schools. Nevada assistant Dave Rice was at the game against Reno.
Dillon Voyles said Weber State, Sacramento State and Idaho have contacted him along with San Francisco State and Chico State and Bellevue. He hopes to decide on a school after the season, likely in March or April.
He plans to study to become a social worker in college.