At Marist, Claire Ryan’s contributions to the girls basketball team are easy to overlook or take for granted.
She is a 5-foot-11 junior guard on a RedHawks team that is 17-0, features a big front line and a number of explosive players, chief among them Leah Bolton and JeTaun Rouse.
Bolton and Rouse tend to score the lion’s share of the points for Marist. Ryan leads the RedHawks in only one category—floor burns.
She showcased her tenacious style of play in rallying Marist to a 58-53 victory over rival Mother McAuley before a near-capacity crowd on Monday night at Marist. She scored seven of her 11 points in the third quarter as the RedHawks used a 19-2 scoring run to overturn a five-point halftime deficit.
She made 3-of-5 shots during the flurry, one from 3-point distance and two others on nifty dribble-drive moves to the basket. She also blocked a shot and ramped up some defensive pressure on the perimeter as Marist finally closed out on Mother McAuley’s hot shooting Alyssa Siwek and Elizabeth Nye.
“Phenomenal, isn’t she?” asked Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly of Ryan. “She just buckles down. She’s so focused out there. And she just makes things happen by her pure hustle. She’s a very quick player.”
And fast-becoming known as an unsung hero, too.
“She’s a very quiet girl off the court,” Connolly said. “But on the court, she’s so well-respected because of her play. If you don’t watch out for her, she’s like an assassin.”
Ryan can find a number of ways to take Marist opponents out of their game. Her work on defense helped slow Mother McAuley’s 3-point express in the second half.
“We played better defense, better help-defense,” she said. “We had to help each other in the first half, but we didn’t do it. So, we tried to adjust in the second half. We were not going to let McAuley beat us in our own gym.
“We just came out more focused in the second half than we did in the first and we played better (basketball). I just try to do whatever I can to help us out. If I need to score, I’ll score. But if I need to do something on defense, I’ll do that, too.”