Rob Rose (@RobRoseSports)
In previous seasons, Archbishop Ryan head coach Joe Zeglinski worried about how his team would respond after an emotional win.
Archbishop Ryan overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat its rival Father Judge on the road last week, but faced another challenging contest on Tuesday night. A talented Archbishop Carroll group offered another test for the Raiders at home.
Darren Williams (above, in December) scored 19 points to help lead Ryan to a PCL win Tuesday night. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
With a group of seniors that guided the team to the state title game last season and a pair of special sophomores, the Ryan squad didn’t let the effects from last week’s win linger and handled Carroll, 69-47, to improve to 10-1, 2-0 in the Catholic League.
“I love that because in the past, it was always kind of a down first half or first quarter after that Judge game with the packed crowd and the excitement of winning,” Zeglinski said. “But this team, I think, recognizes that we have bigger plans and our goals are still ahead of us. It's not one game or two games, we're looking to get into the playoffs and make a run for a championship.”
Those two sophomores were the stars of Tuesday’s win over the Patriots. 6-foot-9 center Thomas Sorber and 6-4 guard Darren Williams each scored 19 points to lead Ryan to the win.
Williams and Sorber went to work right away, with the sophomore guard showcasing all his skills. Williams hit two 3-pointers, slashed to the rim to score and delivered a devastating dunk that forced a timeout.
The sophomore saw some time last year, but Zeglinski said with a COVID-compressed campaign, there weren’t enough practices to prepare him to play. With another big night after he scored 18 in last week’s comeback win, Williams wants to prove he has even more to his game as the season continues.
“I think I showed a lot, but I have got much more in the bag,” Williams said.
While Williams did damage from the perimeter, Sorber dominated the paint. With nobody on Archbishop Carroll capable of matching his size, Sorber scored and grabbed rebounds with ease all night.
The Trenton Catholic transfer holds three NCAA Division I offers, including one from Georgetown, and showed why in the win. The Raiders’ offense ran through him early and he had the skills to set up teammates or score himself.
“His IQ is so high and he’s such a good passer, we got him at the high post a lot and he was able to read the defense and get pretty much anything we want,” Zeglinski said. “If you get Thomas one-on-one, he's just so, so tough to stop and he's so unselfish and very poised for his age. He has a big future ahead of him.”
Carroll closed the first half on a strong run to cut the lead to six points, but couldn’t hang after the break. The Patriots lost the third quarter 23-6 as Williams and Sorber surged.
Junior Dean Coleman-Newsome led the Patriots with 17 points. Sophomore Moses Hipps added 10 and freshman Jake West scored nine, but the Patriots couldn’t string together enough stops.
Although the Raiders’ sophomores led the team in scoring, the veterans played a big part in the win as well. Luke Boyd scored 30 against Father Judge, but had 12 on Tuesday. Jalen Snead scored eight points and ran the offense well while junior Michael Paris put in six points.
Between the sophomores with NCAA Division I interest and seniors that bring playoff experience, the Raiders looked the part of a team ready to compete for a Catholic League championship and more this season.
With their sights set on getting back to the state title game and winning this time, Zeglinski wasn’t shy about how high the ceiling for this squad could be after a special start to the season.
“Once we started getting together, I saw our defensive intensity and how we were connected, both on the court and off the court. I thought it was gonna be our best defensive team,” Zeglinski said. “I knew if our defense was going to be at that level, it could have a chance to be the best team we've had since I've gotten here. Obviously there's a long way to go and we had some pretty good teams in the past, but I just love how our defense shows up every night. If we continue to do that, we'll play with anyone.”
AR 17 | 13 | 23 | 16 | 69
AC 9 | 24 | 6 | 17 | 47
AR: Thomas Sorbel 19, Darren Williams 19, Luke Boyd 12, Jalen Snead 8, Michael Paris 6, Darren Williams 3, Ryan Everett 2.
AC: Dean Coleman-Newsome 17, Moses Hipps 10, Jake West 9, Sal Monestero 8, Harold Ivery 2, Shawnn Smith 1.