Photos: Kathy Leister, Zack Beavers, James Williamson, Krystal Williams, James Quinn
By: Rich Flanagan
PHILADELPHIA – Joe Zeglinski has had an incredible tenure as head coach at his alma mater. Since being hired in 2015, Archbishop Ryan has made the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs every season with five semifinal appearances in that span. In the state tournament, the Raiders have also fared well with five appearances including two runs to the semifinals and a PIAA Class 5A championship game berth in 2021.
He surpassed 100 career wins earlier this season and has a winning percentage of 64.6 percent in his time on the sideline.
Still, Zeglinski, who scored 1,300 points between his time with Penn Charter and Archbishop Ryan then went on to a phenomenal career at the University of Hartford, has had the same drive seeing things from the sideline as he did when he was playing. He covets championships and his 2021-22 team nearly walked away with the most coveted one.
Archbishop Ryan head coach Joe Zeglinski - PSD Photo by Krystal Williams
Thomas Sorber was named Pa. All-State Class 5A First Team while Darren Williams and Luke Boyd were named to the third team, marking the first time in program history that three players were named all-state selections in the same season. The trio gave Zeglinski his first win in the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals, a 59-55 victory over West Catholic at the Palestra, and secured a spot in the title. It marked Archbishop Ryan’s first time in the final since 2008.
Boyd was a starter on the Raiders team that fell to Cathedral Prep in Hershey last season, and he took that loss and turned it into motivation for the ensuing year.
“Coming off the COVID-19 season, I was playing at my best,” Boyd said. “It was hard to get into the gym with everybody, but I was in the gym soon after we lost in the state championship game. Literally right after. We came back that Saturday and I was in the gym on Sunday. I was in the gym all summer and kept working.”
The Raiders held the lead late in the second half but succumbed to Neumann-Goretti, falling 61-57. Despite the loss, this season was seen as a breakthrough year for Archbishop Ryan (18-9, 8-5 Philadelphia Catholic League) and the biggest difference was the dominant play of Sorber, who holds offers from Georgetown, St. Joe’s, Richmond, La Salle, and Drexel. The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward averaged 16.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.7 blocks with 11 double-doubles.
He posted 17 points, six boards and eight rejections against the Saints in the title game then had 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks versus Chester in the second round of the PIAA 5A Tournament, where the Raiders season ended with a 53-48 loss. His fluidness in the post is sensational for a young big man and he has shown good touch outside the paint, but, according to Zeglinski, his best facet is as a rim protector.
“Defensively, he played without fouling, which really helped us,” Zeglinski said. “He was a great rim protector, and he was able to keep balls in play when he blocked shots. That’s what great bigs do and he was able to get us out in transition because he had such good hands and touch. His defense is what I was super impressed by, and his instincts were great on that end. He was such a force, and his offensive game continues to develop.”
Sorber’s best game of the season came against Archbishop Wood in the Philadelphia Catholic League quarterfinals as he posted 21 points, 12 boards and two blocks on the road to get the Raiders back to the semifinals.
Williams also had himself to a strong game vs. the Vikings with 20 points including three three-pointers. The 6-4 sophomore guard avg. 12 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals while making 44 three-pointers. He had 21 points against Archbishop Carroll then hit five treys on his way to 23 points vs. Lansdale Catholic. He scored in double figures in 17 games this season.
He's an emerging offensive threat and a player Zeglinski went to late in the Philadelphia Catholic League title game to potentially tie the game in the closing seconds. “He can score it at all three levels and plays very under control with a great pace,” as Zeglinski noted.
Williams’ play reminds Zeglinski of another rangy lefty who began to emerge as a sophomore: Izaiah Brockington.
“Izaiah was young as a sophomore whereas Darren is more developed physically,” Zeglinski said. “Both can score at all three levels and have the ability to stop on a dime to make a mid-range jump shot. They can use their athleticism at the rim and they both work extremely hard.”
Boyd first entered the rotation as a sophomore when Aaron Lemon-Warren, the 2020-21 Pa. All-State Class 5A Player of the Year, was lost for the year with a broken foot. He helped the Raiders reach the Palestra that season before falling to eventual champion, Neumann-Goretti then teamed with Lemon-Warren (Delaware State), Christian Tomasco (Hofstra), Dominic Vazquez (Arcadia) and Jalen Snead (5.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.6 steals) on the Raiders’ run to the state title game. The 6-1 senior guard and West Chester University commit avg. 14.4 ppg and made 68 three-pointers, third-most in the league. He hit eight three-pointers in the Raiders two games at the Palestra this season and had 15 points in the final vs. the Saints.
While the Raiders did not come away with the title, Boyd understood what that victory would’ve meant to his legacy as well as those teammates he wanted to win it so badly for.
“If we would’ve won, it would have been for all the guys who were on the team the year before,” Boyd said. “Some of them were in attendance like Dom Vazquez and if we would’ve won, it may have meant more to those guys.”
The sharpshooter was instrumental in helping Archbishop Ryan to 49 wins in three seasons at the varsity level and made 105 three-pointers over the last two.
Zeglinski relished Boyd’s perseverance on the court and knows his attitude reverberated to those players coming back next year.
“He’s going to be remembered as a winner and for doing whatever it took in his three years on varsity,” Zeglinski said. “He knew what it took to win games and he’s a big reason for where we got this season. He was always able to push his teammates with his demeanor and was always ready to play.”
Justin Edwards was named Class 5A Player of the Year after leading Imhotep Charter (28-4) to its eighth state championship in program history. The 6-7 junior forward avg. 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds to go along with 43 three-pointers. He became the first Imhotep player to be named all-state player of the year since Donta Scott (Maryland) won 4A POY in 2019. Edwards, who holds offers from Kentucky, Villanova, Auburn, Tennessee, Maryland, and Kansas, had 20 points and six boards in leading the Panthers to a 54-39 win over New Castle in Hershey.
Rahmir Barno, also a first team selection with offers from offers from Florida Gulf Coast, Bryant, Drexel, Hofstra, Temple, UTEP, VCU, Virginia Tech, La Salle and Robert Morris, had 12 points and three steals in the state final. The 5-11 Imhotep point guard avg. 11.2 points, 5.3 assists and 2.2 steals while knocking down 21 three-pointers. He and Edwards became the first Imhotep tandem to be named First Team All-State since Scott and Dahmir Bishop (Florida Gulf Coast) in 2019. The last Panthers player on the all-state list, Ahmad Nowell, was named to the second team. The 6-foot sophomore guard hit a team-high 54 three-pointers while avg. 12.3 points and 3.1 assists for head coach Andre Noble, the Class 5A Coach of the Year. Noble led the Panthers to their fifth Philadelphia Public League title in six years and the 10th of his illustrious career.
Radnor’s Jackson Hicke was named Second Team All-State after leading the Raptors to the District 1-5A title game, the first district championship appearance since 1961. The 6-5 junior guard avg. 16.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals. He also shot 50 percent from the field and made 36 three-pointers. He posted 38 points and 16 rebounds in the PIAA 5A opener against Susquehannock and has scored 572 career points. Larenzo Jerkins, the 6-4 sophomore forward, propelled Chester over Radnor in the District 1 final. He avg. 12.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.2 blocks and 4 steals in leading the Clippers to a 21-4 record, the Del Val League title and the state semifinals, where they fell to Imhotep.
Justin Edwards, 6' 7", junior, Imhotep Charter (Player of the Year)
Rodney Gallagher, 6', junior, Laurel Highlands
Thomas Sorber, 6' 9", sophomore, Archbishop Ryan
Mike Wells, 6' 4", senior, New Castle
Ty Burton, 5' 10", sophomore, Lampeter-Strasburg
Rahmir Barno, 6', junior, Imhotep Charter
Jalen Franklin, 6' 1", senior, Susquehannock
Ahmad Nowell, 6', sophomore, Imhotep Charter
Keondre DeShields, 6' 3", junior, Laurel Highlands
Jackson Hicke, 6' 4", junior, Radnor
Anthony Smith, 6' 7", senior, Shippensburg Area
Elijah Hamilton, 6' 4", junior, Octorara
Trey Grube, 6', junior, Manheim Central
Larenzo Jerkins, 6' 4", sophomore, Chester
Jeremy Thomas, 6' 4", senior, Shippensburg Area
Colin Payne, 6' 3", senior, Exeter Township
Luke Boyd, 6' 1", senior Archbishop Ryan
Darren Williams, 6' 4", sophomore, Archbishop Ryan
Coach of the Year
Andre Noble, Imhotep Charter