Archbishop Ryan runs wild in win over Germantown Academy

FORT WASHINGTON >> Archbishop Ryan was running all night, its transition game leading to a collection of fast breaks and dunks that was punctuated by a fourth-quarter alley-oop to Fred Taylor.

Said the 6-foot-9 senior center: “I had to make my presence known.”

Taylor delivered a powerful message, standing out defensively, contributing 15 points and slamming home a 63-49 victory over Germantown Academy in a match-up of two of the area’s best.

“We were definitely excited about this one,” said Taylor, who helped his team improve to a perfect 6-0. “The whole time on the bus ride over, we were getting focused and we knew from the beginning what we had to do.”

The third quarter was pivotal for the Raiders, who transformed a two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point advantage heading to the fourth.

A jumper by Izaiah Brockington, part of his team-high 22 points, put the Raiders in front for good at 27-25. Brockington then dished to Matiss Kulackovskis in transition, Amin Bryant scored on a breakaway to extend the margin to 34-27, and the Raiders were on their way.

“We challenged guys at halftime and they responded,” Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski said. “We had great defense — we switched it up to a little zone on them — and we got out running. Fred played a great half, Izaiah stepped it up in the third and our defense is what’s always there.

“We kind of lean on that and that’s what we did. We got out running. That’s when we’re at our best, getting deflections, getting out on the break — transition from defense to offense.”

Brockington was a consistent force all night, using slippery moves around the basket, slamming home an ally-oop pass from Chris Palantino in the third and then setting up Taylor for his in the fourth.

“Izaiah, he’s a high-caliber, D-1 player,” Taylor said of the senior guard, who is headed to the New Jersey Institute of Technology next year. “With his scoring ability, his rebounding…and his athletic ability is amazing. You can’t ask for anything else.”

Chris Palantino did a tremendous job running point for the Raiders, setting up Taylor for another dunk to close out the third and boost the visitors’ lead to 47-35 heading into the fourth.

A three by Palantino, additional scoring by Brockington and Taylor as well as good ball movement in the final minutes allowed Ryan to close things out.

The Patriots (6-2), led by Evan-Eric Longino’s game-high 26 points and Kyle McCloskey’s 11-point effort, took a two-point lead into the break but fell behind in the third.

“(Ryan) came out in a different defense and it threw us off a little bit,” said McCloskey, whose team will head to the Benedictine Capital City Classic in Richmond, Virg. on Monday. “We didn’t execute in the third quarter and that’s really what did us in.

“We had a couple turnovers that went for big, game-changing plays like dunks and everything on the other end and I think that got us out of our element.”

GA battled back from an early 6-0 deficit as well as a 10-point hole in the second quarter to push ahead, but the Raiders were able to take control.

“In the beginning we turned the ball over a little bit,” said Taylor, whose team heads to Episcopal Academy Tuesday, “but once we started picking it up and played good team ball, we dished the ball out and got everybody involved. That’s the type of game we need to play and we will play for the rest of the season.”

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