McALESTER — With his mother working at Tannehill School, Eli Boyle spent many afternoons of his childhood hanging out at school.
It didn’t take long for Boyle to find his way to the basketball gym.
“I would just stay after school and shoot,” Boyle said Friday.
“I was in the gym every day when I was little. I was in the gym every single day.”
Born in Elk City, Boyle moved to McAlester before starting kindergarten. The youngest of four siblings, Boyle said basketball has always been a family activity, and he often went to watch his siblings play for the Buffs.
“I have two brothers and one sister,” Boyle said. “We were always competitive about something.
“I already had three siblings that had already went through (McAlester) basketball, so I knew I was going to play.”
Boyle said he started playing competitive ball for Tannehill in the fourth grade. Boyle helped the Braves reach the Organization of Rural Elementary Schools state tournament during his seventh-grade year, then moved up to McAlester High School two years later.
“At Tannehill, I was a post most of my years, because I was the biggest kid,” Boyle said.
“It was a big jump, I’ll tell you that. It was a little school to a huge school, but it was definitely worth it. I’m really proud that my parents put me here in McAlester.”
As a Buff, Boyle found himself playing with true centers, allowing him to transition from post to power forward. He made the varsity as a sophomore, then became a starter as a junior.
The 2012-13 Buffs started slow and never really found their rhythm. As a senior captain this year, Boyle has helped the Buffs start out 3-3, with none of the losses being by more than 6 points.
“I really think we have a chance at State,” Boyle said.