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Zentner takes leadership, shines for Wildfire

Press Photo by Dustin Monke In this is 2013 photo, Mott-Regent senior Tyler Zentner drives against Heart River senior Tyson Kudrna at Knights of Columbus Activities Center.

Whether he’s playing point guard or center, Mott-Regent senior Tyler Zentner just wants to play.

The 6-foot-3 senior’s play has propelled him to average 20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game from anywhere on the court.

“It doesn’t matter to me, it doesn’t bother me,” he said about playing different positions. “Wherever (head coach Nate Zachmann) puts me, I’ll do my best.”

However, it’s not just “The Tyler Zentner Show” in Mott. Zachmann, who is in his first season as Mott-Regent’s head coach, said Zentner does a good job of getting everyone on the floor involved.

“Other guys look to Tyler,” said Zachmann, who was an assistant for the Wildfire for two years before accepting the head coaching job. “He sets the tone and takes on the leadership role and he leads by example. Tyler plays a huge part, but it’s always team first.”

Zentner relayed his coaches’ message, knowing he can’t win by himself.

“It’s always a team effort,” he said. “As long as everyone is going out there and doing their best, and if everyone is doing their job, it makes it easier on everyone else.”

The Wildfire is 10-12 on the season and are the No. 8-seed entering the Region 7 Tournament, which begins at 3 p.m. Monday at Knights of Columbus Activities Center. Mott-Regent plays top-seed Beulah in the quarterfinals.

Mott-Regent defeated Beach 72-71 in overtime on Friday during the Region 7 play-in game. In the game, Zentner had 24 points.

“The pressure is on them,” Zentner said about playing top-seed Beulah. “We just have to go out, play well and play our best. We have nothing to lose.”

The leadership Zentner brought to the court has rubbed off on the younger players, which Mott-Regent has a plethora of. Aside from the three seniors — Zentner, Benjamin Friedt and Austin Kautzman — the Wildfire had four sophomores and six freshmen.

Brett Messmer — a 6-4 sophomore forward — said Zentner is willing to answer any and all questions the younger players have.

“(Tyler’s) a good ball player,” Messmer said. “He’s good at what he does. I’ve learned a lot from him, just watching him do his thing.”

Zachmann said Zentner’s ability to lead doesn’t start and stop on the basketball court — the senior wants to learn the ins and outs of the game.

“He’s a great leader on the court, shows up and works hard every day,” he said. “He’s a very coachable kid. He’s been fun to coach the last few years.”