Carroll’s run to title game a family affair

BOGGS TWP. — As he posed for pictures with his brother, Colin, and friends Tuesday night at Bald Eagle Area High School, the smile on Ryan Daly’s face belied many of the emotions he had dealt with earlier in the evening.

The atmosphere after Daly helped Archbishop Carroll to a 59-32 triumph over Cathedral Prep in the PIAA Class AAA semifinals was undoubtedly joyous. But most of the evening for the junior guard — that is, when foul trouble permitted him to participate — was dominated by frustration.

While the stakes were high for all of the Patriots, the Daly brothers had a little more to contend with. For one, the trip was the occasion for a reunion with many of their former classmates when they attended State College schools. That’s also when they lived with their father, Brian Daly, an associate head coach in his fourth season at Penn State.

Ryan Daly admitted that the weight of the occasion had him pressing more than usual. Not helping his cause were two first-half offensive fouls, then a third 34 seconds into the third quarter that hampered his efforts to get his shooting touch established.

“I definitely noticed it because I haven’t seen some of them in a while,’ Ryan Daly said. “The group over there, they were the real basketball players at State College. We kind of stood together, and when we moved away, it kind of stunk. I’m just happy they got to see me, and there were nerves a little bit, but I got over them in the second half.’

Those nerves manifested in a 1-for-6 performance from the field in the first three quarters before Daly turned on the jets in the fourth, getting near his season scoring average with 12 points as the Patriots pulled away. Colin, meanwhile, got some first-half minutes spelling his brother, and while he didn’t attempt a shot, he contributed to the Patriots’ stifling defense.

The added emotional wrinkle in the evening was the presence of Brian Daly. As a result of the loaded travel calendar his job entails, Daly has only caught two or three of his sons’ games this season. He lives in State College during the season, and the extensive calendar of recruiting showcases leaves precious little time for personal trips.

“It’s always fun when you get to see your kids play,’ Brian Daly said. “Obviously in the career I’ve chosen, I don’t really get to see them a lot. But being around the corner was just a godsend. When we found out Sunday, we were really excited it was so close to State College and to give them a shot to achieve some of their dreams.’

Brian Daly has a unique perspective on what his sons are competing for, which informs why he and his wife, Tracie, have made such concessions to allow Ryan and Colin to pursue Catholic League basketball.

Brian Daly, the 1988 Catholic League and Daily Times Player of the Year in leading Monsignor Bonner to the Catholic League title, can understand the emotions in play Friday when Carroll duels with Neumann-Goretti for a state title in Hershey, even if the setting is foreign. In Daly’s day, there were a handful of postseason tournaments to look to after the Catholic League title, but measuring up against PIAA opposition wasn’t something he and his peers expected … or missed, really.

“I can say not really because it wasn’t something that was even remotely thought of,’ Daly said. “What we were looking for was the Catholic League championship and then Alhambra (Catholic Invitational Tournament), or to go in the Showdown in Hagerstown, one of those postseason tournaments. That’s what we had.’

Brian Daly admits that even though he’s there strictly for family, he can’t help but watch the game as a coach. As it pertains to Ryan and Colin, his coaching message is simple.

“From the time that they started playing basketball years ago,’ Daly said, “the only thing I said was, ‘ you need to play as hard as you can. If you play as hard as you can, everything will take care of itself.”

In that regard, Ryan Daly’s performance Tuesday passed with flying colors. He hit his final four shots and grabbed three of his six hard-nosed rebounds in the fourth quarter. Despite foul issues, he was part of Carroll’s potent defensive deterrent in the lane (headlined by Derrick Jones’ 22 rebounds and five blocks) and managed to provide big points when needed, including a third-quarter 3-pointer that extended Carroll’s lead to 16 and broke the Ramblers’ backs.

“(The fouls) got in my head a little bit,’ Ryan Daly said. “And then I started missing my shots. Second half, I just had to come out with a better attitude because I let it get to me a little bit, and then I picked one up really quick in the third quarter. But coach trusted me, kept me in and I just kept playing my game.’

The performance gives Brian Daly one more game this season to try and attend. He’s got a few stops on his itinerary in a few different states, he says, but somehow, some way, he thinks Hershey will fit in time-wise to allow him to reprise his proud papa role.

“I’m just really proud of them,’ Brian Daly said. “As a family, we made some sacrifices letting them come home to Philadelphia so they can achieve some of their dreams to play in the Philadelphia Catholic League. I’m just so happy for them the opportunities that have been put in front of them. I know they’re as happy as they can be, and that’s all you want as a parent.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply