Sophomore Ryan keeps rolling as Struthers downs Newton Falls
By Greg Gulas
The Struthers Wildcats limped out of the gate this season, losing their first four games while looking for someone to step up and take charge.
Sophomore Carson Ryan, who missed the first four games due to an administrative suspension, seems to be that “take charge” guy and the player for whom head coach Jim Franceschelli has been looking.
On the heels of back-to-back triple-doubles, Ryan had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists and Isaiah Torrence added 16 points as the Wildcats defeated Newton Falls 63-50 in an All-American Conference intra-division clash Tuesday at the Struthers Field House.
It was the third consecutive win for Struthers (3-4) while the Tigers (4-2) saw their four-game win streak end.
“Our shooting to start the season was really cold and it was all about practice,” Ryan said. “We came in expecting to be good, but got lazy and humbled in our first four games. When we move the ball, we’re a hard team to stop and tonight it was a total team effort. Isaiah does everything for us and he was on from 3-point range tonight.”
Ryan scored nine of his points and notched two of his three buckets from beyond the arc in the opening period as the Wildcats built a 21-9 lead.
Two triples by Josh Honeycutt and four overall in the second quarter helped the Tigers outscore Struthers, 18-10 as they cut the margin to 31-27 at the intermission.
“Getting Carson back has been big. He’s a leader, guys look up to him and it’s the little things that he does that gets us going,” Franceschelli said. “When Isaiah gets going, we feed him the ball and his play in the third quarter was the difference. As a senior, he deserves a night this.”
Torrence connected on 11 of his 16 points in the third frame, hitting all three of his triples as Struthers outscored the Tigers 22-12, opening a 53-39 lead heading to the final period.
“I was feeling it during our shoot around when we came out of the locker room at halftime,” Torrence stated. “I got in a rhythm, everything started falling and my teammates just kept feeding me the ball when I was open. A game like this only boosts our confidence level.”
The Tigers then fell behind 60-41 with 3:03 remaining, but reeled off nine of the last 12 points to make the final score respectable.
“I was pleased with our energy and enthusiasm in the opening half, but not so after halftime,” Newton Falls head coach Roy Sembach said. “We dug a hole to start the game and I was really pleased with our play in the second period as we closed to within four at halftime. We have a young team, have played well at home but not so well on the road. We just need to get a little tougher and that will happen.”
Kevin Traylor also added 13 points for Struthers while Chris Rankin’s 15 points and 12 from Preston Rapczak led the Tigers.