MILTON – Cormac Ryan is a gifted scorer, but his value to the Milton Academy boys’ basketball team goes beyond his offensive prowess.
The Stanford-bound senior netted a game-high 34 points while holding Brimmer & May star A.J. Reeves to 19 points on 7-of-23 field goal shooting in Wednesday’s 53-52 narrow nonleague win.
“When [Ryan] is locked in like that, he can defend a guy like [Reeves] and still get you 30 points,” said Milton Academy coach Lamar Reddicks.
“Most scorers like that don’t have to cover, but [Ryan] thrives on that. He’s better when he covers the best player on the other team.”
A 6-foot-5 guard with incredible lateral quickness and a deft shooting touch, Ryan is considered the 55th best prospect for the Class of 2018 according to ESPN.com’s nationwide Top 100 list.
Ryan produced the first 17 points for Milton Academy (11-4, 6-1 Independent School League), which opened a 26-14 lead late in the first half.
“I like to go out and compete against high-level guys,” said Ryan. “I was fired up, the team was fired up.”
“My competitiveness is one of the best attributes in my game. The willingness to go out and cover A.J. all game kind of gets me going — knowing that I’m stepping up to the challenge and doing what I can to help me team on both ends of the floor.”
Reeves, who is committed to Providence and considered the 50th prospect in ESPN’s Top 100, struggled early in his second game back from a knee injury. But eventually, the 6-foot-6 senior awoke.
With help from Danvers teen Jimmy Yfantopulos (16 points), who is headed to Colgate, Reeves and Brimmer (6-8) took its first lead at 30-28 and held a 46-41 advantage with just over two minutes remaining.
But after a steady Milton Academy comeback and multiple lead changes, Ryan tipped in a miss to put the hosts up, 53-52, and the Mustangs came up with consecutive stops to deny Brimmer in the final seconds.
“[Reeves] hit a couple big shots to give us a chance,” said Brimmer coach Tom Nelson.
“But he doesn’t have the stamina to make the plays down the stretch that he normally does because he hasn’t played much the past two weeks [due to a knee injury].”
Milton Academy has now won five straight and for the second straight year, watched as their star, Ryan, helped them defeat Reeves’ squad.
“It’s great to see us be able to battle back,” said Reddicks. “When you have two high-powered guys going at it in games like this, it’s great to coach, and it’s fun to watch.”Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.