By John Kovach

high school sports

Sharp shooting helped Niles senior Ryan Frantz become the school’s leading scorer.

NILES — There are two main reasons why 5-foot-11 senior guard Ryan Frantz of the Niles High boys basketball team (9-8, 2-3 All-American Conference Red Tier) has become the school’s second 1,000-point career scorer.

First, he can shoot the ball very quickly after getting it and with a high degree of accuracy.

Second, he is able to get open for the split second that he needs in an offense that emphasizes the fast break to get the ball down the floor as quickly as possible.

Frantz reached 1,000 points exactly by scoring 14 in Niles’ 63-32 win over Lakeview three weeks ago. He has since scored 66 points against Canfield, Poland and Howland to become the Red Dragons’ all-time leading scorer, passing 2003 graduate Danny Jones (1,033).

He has 373 points this year after scoring 19 points as a freshman, 334 as a sophomore and 340 his junior year.

“[Frantz] probably is the best shooter I’ve seen come through here,” said fourth-year coach Rick Kover who has been with the Red Dragons’ program for 11 years. “He gets open on screens and shoots quickly and still accurately,” Kover said. “He has the capability to single-handedly change the outcome of the game.

“He gets it off as quickly as any one. He doesn’t need a lot of time to get it off.”

Kover said Frantz became an even more prolific scorer when the team changed to a fast-break offensive style of play with a lot of running for this season.

“Once we made the transition to the fast-break system, that allowed him to score [more],” Kover said. “The defense has a tough time finding people [to guard], and he gets a lot points in the transition. The bulk of his points come from a 3-point shot.”

The running game “got him open on 3s because the defense is so busy covering guys down the floor. It gets him open and he is able to score being the pure shooter that he is,” Kover said.

Frantz agreed with his coach, and said he was forced to become a quick shooter with accuracy because of the challenging nature of the game in which players are taller and also are able to jump high to block shots, giving the shooter only a small window of opportunity to get off a shot.

“You have to shoot quickly. You have to take the open shot. You only have a split second to take a shot and so you have to shoot quickly,” said Frantz, who earlier this season became Niles’ leader in career and single-season 3-point goals.

Frantz said he managed to get good in the art of the quick shot by simulating game conditions during practice sessions, while at the same time growing more confident in his quick-release accuracy.

“I was never good [shooting] off the dribble but I just worked in practice and it just came to me. I was never a bad shooter, but I just was real streaky when I shot the ball, but I am more consistent now,” Frantz said. “It comes a lot from being confident.“

The son of Mark and Karen Frantz, Ryan is hoping to take his quick-shot artistry into college basketball.

“I want to play basketball [in college] but my education is most important,” said Frantz, who has a 2.7 grade-point average and would like to become a teacher and coach.

Kover said Frantz is beginning to attract attention from college scouts.

“He is getting a few collegiate looks like from Notre Dame College, Wooster and Ohio U.,” Kover said. “He probably will get a lot more.”

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