Stowers leading charge for Quaker Valley boys basketball
By: Joe Sager
Friday, January 11, 2019 | 8:24 PM
Ryan Stowers can take on many roles for Quaker Valley’s boys basketball team.
Most nights, the 6-foot-5 senior guard is lofting shots from long distance or driving to the hoop for an easy bucket to the tune of 23.1 points per game.
However, he added more dimensions to his game this season.
“I’ve worked on my rebounding and just being more aggressive,” he said. “Last year, I would shoot too many times when I first had the ball. Now, if my shot is not falling in, I can get to the hoop or count on my teammates to pick up the load, and I can pick it up later in the game. I wanted to work on my passing, too.”
With Stowers, who is second on the team in rebounding (5.6 per game) and near the top in assists, the Quakers have powered to a 10-0 start.
“He has done so many things right to put himself in a position to be successful, and that’s helped the team, as well,” Quaker Valley coach Mike Mastroianni said. “He’s taken on additional roles for us at a high level, too. He could be our defensive stopper and big rebounder if we need him to be. He committed himself much more to leadership, and I’m extremely pleased with how far he has come on that side.”
Filling up the hoop is his specialty, though. That’s big for the team, especially with the graduation of Coletrane Washington, who led last year’s team at 21.5 ppg. Stowers averaged 15.7 points last year.
“I definitely want to carry more of the load, scoring-wise. My teammates are working to get me the best shot possible and passing to me at the right times,” Stowers said.
He turned his offense up a notch with 36 points in a 64-46 win over West Allegheny and 33 in a key 67-48 win at New Castle in WPIAL Section 4-2A play. Quaker Valley fell to New Castle in the last two WPIAL title games.
“That was a nice win,” Stowers said. “We were trying to make a statement from last year. Losing Coletrane, maybe teams might have thought we were a little weaker. I don’t think that’s the case at all.”
The Quakers have balance, and Stowers knows he doesn’t have to carry the offensive load. Danny Conlan (15.6) and Adou Thiero (10.2) average in double figures.
“Everybody is pitching in. It’s not just one guy scoring. If one man is down, it’s the next man up. That’s our mentality,” Stowers said. “I really want to be the best leader possible. You can never be too good, so I am always working on it.”
He has plenty of company in the leadership department, too. Quaker Valley has six other seniors in Jackson Zernich, Christian Johnston, Quinn Hill, Kyle Wolf, Isaac Guss and Conlan.
“The key for us has been our entire group of seniors,” Mastroianni said. “They are a dedicated group. Their approach to practice and getting better is very impressive. Winning is a direct result of all that.”
Even though Quaker Valley won its first four section games, the Quakers know winning a title won’t come easy.
“I am happy with what we’ve done so far, but we’re not anywhere near finished yet,” Stowers said. “I think we’ve molded together real well. We know our strengths and weaknesses. It’s been a ton of fun. Practices have been fun. The chemistry has been great. It’s been great to be on a successful team with a bunch of my friends.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
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