Junior Zachary Crisler (left) and senior Sean Simon (right) both scored nine points for La Salle in its regular season finale, a 62-48 victory over Archbishop Ryan. (Photo by Alec Kostival)

by Alec Kostival

Going into the game on Sunday, Archbishop Ryan seemed like a tough matchup for La Salle College High School. Both schools had similar records in Philadelphia Catholic League play, with La Salle coming in at 7-5 and Archbishop Ryan at 6-5. Senior Day started off by La Salle honoring its graduating class by having all three seniors (Sean Simon, Nick Hoffman and Isaiah Snead) start the first minutes.

The game started off slow for both teams. Archbishop Ryan was playing the Explorers hard on the floor, using a full court press early. Once junior stars Konrad Kiszka and Zachary Crisler entered the game, things became relatively smooth sailing for the Explorers. By the end of the first quarter, La Salle was able to establish a four-point lead, 13-9.

The Explorers broke out in the second quarter, outscoring Archbishop Ryan 17-10. It was also when junior Jack Rothenberg indicated the type of day he was going to have on the court. In the middle of the quarter, La Salle was on offense when Rothenberg got the ball. He missed an initial layup attempt, but was able to rebound his own shot and convert on a layup. Rothenberg finished with 10 points coming off the bench.

“It was an honest surprise for us,” head coach Joseph Dempsey said of Rothenberg. “He’s been practicing as hard as anybody. He does whatever you ask of him. It was good to see.”

The third quarter came and went with little change. La Salle maintained their momentum, increasing their lead to 12 points, 46-34. In the fourth quarter, Archbishop Ryan started to show signs of life. They cut the lead down to 10, finding a groove. During a timeout, Dempsey could be overheard saying “Don’t let Stone get heated up,” referring to Archbishop Ryan junior Jaquill Stone.

“He’s their engine,” Dempsey said about Stone. “He has the ball a lot. He gets to the rim and when he gets to the rim, people stare.”

Stone finished with 17 points on the day but wasn’t able to overcome La Salle.

With 30 seconds left, the Explorer starters were pulled and the majority of those in attendance started to applaud for the home squad on their last day of the regular season. The game ended with a final score of 62-48. The Explorers finish their season with an overall record of 15-7 and 8-5 in Philadelphia League play.

Konrad Kiszka led the scoring for La Salle with 17 points on the day. Sean Simon and Zachary Crisler both had nine points in the game. Matt McMahon and Allen Powell each put up six points.