Teammates say prolific scorer is ‘pretty modest’

Submitted photo McDonald’s Zach Rasile, center, with teammates Jake Portolese, left, and Parker Higgins. Rasile is sixth on the all-time career scoring list for the state of Ohio.

McDONALD — Zach Rasile, the area’s all-time boys basketball leading scorer, is working on a record that may stand for generations in the Mahoning Valley.

The McDonald senior point guard, currently sixth on the state of Ohio’s all-time list for points scored in a career, just passed Rex Leach last week to become Trumbull County’s all-time scoring leader.

Rasile is a prolific 3-point shooter, one of the best the Buckeye State has ever seen.

Most area sports fans already know these facts, but may wonder who is Zach Rasile?

Some of his teammates — seniors Parker Higgins and Jake Portolese — shared their thoughts as they prepared this week for homes games against Bristol on Tuesday and Waterloo on Friday.

Higgins said his father, Brian, and Jeff Rasile, Zach’s father, have been best friends, so Zach and Parker have known each other since they were very young.

They hang out, play Xbox, get something to eat in their down time. They’re always hanging out with one another.

“He’s not as quiet as he seems in interviews,” Higgins said. “He just likes to have fun. He’s pretty modest, he doesn’t talk about success off the court. We just have fun. He’s really easygoing, fun to hang out with. We always try to have a good time.

“We live in McDonald, so there’s not much fun stuff to do around here. We tend to go to the (Eastwood) mall, look around a little bit. We go out to eat a lot, whether it’s fast food or go sit down somewhere.”

Rasile said he could’ve gone elsewhere to play basketball besides McDonald. Higgins said he’s glad his friend stayed at home. Rasile willbe going to one of the best NCAA Division II schools in the country next year — West Liberty University.

“We’re not as great as some of the players he could be playing with right now,” Higgins said. “It’s real special to know he’s with us. We’ve grown up with him our whole lives, when we were little kids.

“We have a great connection and that translates on to the court. We’re not selfish or anything. We give each other the ball. We work for each other and that’s how we get victories on the court. We’re real close on the court and we’re real happy to have him around.”

Portolese has known Rasile for a little less than a decade. He’s seen the McDonald senior guard, who averages more than 40 points per game, constantly working on his craft.

“He’s a good kid,” said Portolese, who averages around 20 points per game. “He’s modest. He’s not cocky at all about his success.

“It’s awesome. He’s always going to get you the ball because he’s going to be double-teamed. He’s a very unselfish player. He just wants to win.”

Higgins said there’s a great connection between Zach and his teammates. Rasile averages around five assists a game.

It’s not just the 3-point shots you’ll see from Rasile. He’ll dribble-drive on the opposition toward the hoop.

“If Zach is not shooting lights out, teams tend to give him a little space,” Higgins said. “He can get to the rim pretty easily. You have to pick your poison. It’s leaving the other guys wide open, worrying about guarding Zach.

“He gets to the rim pretty nicely with some quick shake moves. He’s made some good assists to teammates. That’s allowed the other teammates to score this year, not just him getting like 80 points a game. He just rotates the ball pretty well. If he needs to, he can makes some quick moves and get to the rim.”

Rasile ran cross country in junior high, and enjoys playing other sports with his friends.

Portolese said he, Zach and some other friends go to the football field to throw the ball around — football, not basketball. They’ll even go to the McDonald baseball field and hit sometimes. Rasile is a multi-sport athlete.

“He can hit the ball,” Portolese said. “If he played football, I could see him being a wide receiver because he’s fast and he can move.”