Ryan vs. Reading: Up, Up and Away!

It’s levels to this shit…

I just watched a wonderful PIAA “Final Four” contest between Archbishop Ryan, out of Philadelphia, and Reading High School.

Mannnn listen… Reading is thirsty!

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Reading has a long proud tradition of competing for PIAA State Championships and coming up short… Many of the people wearing the red shirts, hoodies, jackets and hats with Big R emblems watched Stu Jackson (pictured above) lead Reading High to a State Championship game in 1973. Even more, watched Donyell Marshall (pictured below) emerge as an All-American in 1991.

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But neither won it all… No State Championships!

Reading has won more than 2,000 basketball games. They have more victories than any other high school in Pennsylvania. Chester High is next with around 1,850.

The Knights also own a record 19 District 3 championships; they won their first in 1929 and added three more in the past decade.

Long dominant at the local level, Reading has 20 Berks championships despite not joining the league until 1979. The Knights won the league title in each of its first six seasons and has claimed two-thirds of the trophies ever since, going 62-12 in league playoff games.

Reading ain’t new to this…

The Knights played their first basketball game in 1901, less than a 10 years after Dr. James Naismith hung peach baskets in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA.

PIAA State Championship are long desired and highly valued in Reading… State’s is the pinnacle in Reading… Young Philly ballers still strive for Catholic and Public League Championships… The State’s are an afterthought…

Philly is new to this…

Ryan, along with the rest of the Philadelphia Catholic League, joined the PIAA for the 2008-2009 season.

Reading is 0 for 116 in PA State Championships… Ryan is 0 for 9…

Many Philly fans were amazed that 90% of 6,000 or so in Liacouris Center were hardcore Reading supporters. Quite a few openly wondered where were the 9,000+ that crammed into the Palestra a few weeks ago?

“What the fuck?”

“Why doesn’t Philly support teams chasing State Titles like Reading?”

State Championship just don’t matter that much to Philly hoop heads. Thus, Philadelphians have no way of understanding the heavy load Lonnie Walker is carrying… He is shouldering the hopes and dreams of all 98,653 Reading residents… After 116 years of playing basketball, they have real shot at winning their first State Championship.

Conversely, Philly is spoiled! Imhotep, Neumann-Goretti, Constitution, Girard College and Archbishop Wood are ALL playing for State Championships… Philly is gonna probably win at least half of the 6 State Titles on the Boys side… It’s what we do…

Reading has NEVER won one…

The team and the town came to the Liacouras Center with HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

Ryan has a very good squad… They have 2 D1 players, a rock solid D2 player and a few really good youngsters. They were ready to do battle early…

Izaiah Brockington came out demonstrated why NJIT gave him a scholarship to play basketball. Early on, first quarter and a half, he was the best player on the court. He was aggressive and highly focused. Reading had no answer as Ryan jumped out to a big early lead on the back of Brockington. He went left… He went right… He went over them… He went under them… He was unstoppable… Ryan had a double figure lead in the first half.

Then it happened…

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane…

It’s Superman!

Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands. And who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way… And now another exciting episode…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

I didn’t see a phone booth… I don’t know where it happened, but one of the Reading players transformed into FUCKIN’ Superman! Real Shit! In the blink of an eye…

Lonnie Walker became the biggest player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the fastest player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the most skilled player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the most explosive player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the best shooter on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the best defender on the court…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

The 5,500 or so Reading fans willed him into action… On the break, he jumped so high and dunked so hard it looked like one of JJ’s paintings on Good Times… He seemed to defy gravitational pull… He jumped and soared and floated and eventually came down when he felt like returning to earth… Only after depositing the ball with tremendous force through the rim…

He pulled up from 25 feet… Splash!!

He spun, pump faked and dropped a sweet ol’ skool finger roll… Ryan decided they were tired of him scoring so they would foul hard when he attacked the rim…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

…And ONE!!

Just in case Ryan thought they were going to make some halftime adjustments, he jumped on their asses to start the second half… Look… Up in the sky…

Like I said, Ryan has a good Catholic League team. Brockington and Matiss Kulackovskis are solid D1 recruits… Fred Taylor is a high level D2 rim protector…

If someone could have given them a big ASS bag of Kryptonite they might have had a chance…

After final buzzer sounded, Clark Kent sprinted to kiss his beloved grandmother seated at the end of the court… He personally thanked each and every cheerleader… The electronic and print media tried to grab his attention, but he made them wait as he rushed to join the procession and respectfully shake hands with his vanquished opponents…

Class Act!

I hope Superman ends Reading’s State Championship drought this weekend!

One hundred and sixteen years is a loooooong time…

When the Philly teams win, they’ll get nice pats on the back… When Reading wins, they become folk heroes for generations to come… But first, a parade!

It’s levels to this shit!!

 

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11 responses

  1. Just a heads up, you were clear to mention that Brockington and Kulackovskis had D-1 scholarships. Brockington (NJIT) and Kulackovskis (Bowling Green) are both really good high school players and going to Mid-Major schools. However, I believe that you underplayed the “superman” you are referring to. This “superman”, Lonnie Walker, is not just “one of the Reading players.” He’s the 18th best player in the class of 2017 who committed to Miami over Kentucky, Arizona, and Villanova. In my opinion, you made it seem like he’s a nobody when you point out even a D-2 player from Ryan. Good article overall though!

  2. I’m 67 yrs old, my husband is 73 yrs old. We are both graduates of RHS. Thank you so much for this terrific article. We both enjoyed it very much. My husband had to pause to wipe away tears of hysteria with your marvelous description of our Superman here in Reading- great literature! RHS never leaves you no matter how old we all grow!

  3. Great article!! Lets hope Resding finishes the quest and makes history with a State Title! Thanks for the awesome article!

  4. Well written article. Win or lose these players are an amazing group of young men.
    Let’s bring home a state title boys!!!
    #2004grad #proudtobearedknight

  5. Wonderful article! These RHS boys are hungry for that State Title. I hope that each & every one of them had the opportunity to read your article for motivation going into their next game. Good luck boys! #RHSproud. #StateTitle

  6. You got the juice bro! You are a literalism assassin… your words is killin em softly but with reckless abandonment in descriptions, I hope every appreciates your talent as I have… R eal talent always R ises to the “level” of R espectablity.. win lose or draw… this team has already accomplished so much for a city once divided.. all levels.. all races.. all classes… and almost 300,000 greater R eading R esidents have all been effected… and have come together! It’s amazing to witness and be apart of!

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