Trib HSSN Boys Basketball Player of the Week: Quaker Valley’s Ryan Stowers
By: Don Rebel
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 12:29 AM
School: Quaker Valley
Quaker Valley had a nine-point leading heading into the fourth quarter of the WPIAL Class 4A boys basketball championship game against a team the Quakers beat two times earlier this season.
Then a bad storm struck down the Quakers in the fourth quarter and silver linings were all they were left to cling to.
New Castle made it three district crowns in a row with a furious comeback that knocked out Quaker Valley, 60-54.
Mike Mastroianni is a veteran coach with nearly 500 wins and two WPIAL titles on his resume. The Quakers coach knew bouncing back from that devastating loss to prepare for the state playoffs was not going to be easy.
“Always difficult to get started again after such a tough loss, but as we got closer to the end of the week our senior leaders had our team in a good place,” he said.
One of those seniors is 6-foot-5 guard Ryan Stowers.
Stowers now has the Quakers in a really good place after scoring 33 points in a 66-51 PIAA Class 4A first-round victory over District 9 champion Clearfield.
“Ryan is playing at a very high level,” Mastroianni said. “Probably what has stood out is how efficient he has been. His shooting percentage is high for both 2’s and 3’s.”
Stowers has been a standout all season for a team that is now 21-4, averaging over 22 points.
“Ryan puts a lot of time in the summer and off-season,” Mastroianni said. “He is playing like a senior in terms of getting to the basket and being aggressive in looking for scoring opportunities.”
Mastroianni not only is a fan of Stowers’ growth on the court, but off it as well.
“Ryan has really grown in terms of taking on more responsibilities and rounding out his total game,” the coach said. “I’m extremely proud of his growth on the floor and off the floor.”
Twenty years ago, Quaker Valley reached the PIAA boys basketball title game only to fall to Annville-Cleona, 69-57. That was the only state championship game the Quakers have played in.
The next hurdle in heading back to Hershey this season is a matchup against Bishop McDevitt on Tuesday at Hollidaysburg.
“Bishop McDevitt is a very good team and won the District 3 championship,” Mastroianni said. “They defend at a high level and share the ball well. We will need to defend and rebound and handle their pressure the entire game. They remind me of high level WPIAL teams.”
Dan Petcash, Pine-Richland
For three years in a row, Pine-Richland was either coming off a win or a loss in the WPIAL finals heading into the PIAA postseason. This season there was a longer layoff between tournaments after the Rams fell in the district semifinals. No worries though as Daniel Petcash made West Lawn Wilson pay by scoring 25 points as Pine-Richland rolled to a 89-64 victory in the first round Saturday. The Rams will need plenty of big performances Wednesday when they challenge top-ranked Kennedy Catholic.
Will Gipson, Aliquippa
After winning WPIAL and PIAA gold this past fall in football, many of the same star athletes came up short in their attempt at district gold when Aliquippa lost to North Catholic in the WPIAL semifinals. Step one toward possible state gold was accomplished Saturday when the Quips rolled to a 66-56 triumph over Fairview thanks in large part to 23 points dropped by Will Gipson. Now the Pitt recruit and his Aliquippa teammates face rival and WPIAL champ Lincoln Park in the second round Wednesday.
Jimmy Moon, Serra Catholic
The opening round on the Road to Hershey turned out to be just another day at the office for Jimmy Moon. The Serra Catholic senior was a dominant force in leading his team to the WPIAL finals. He now hopes to do the same for the Eagles in the PIAA postseason. Moon scored 33 points and also retrieved 17 rebounds, all while sitting out the entire fourth quarter, as Serra Catholic dominated Penns Manor, 79-44, in the opening round. The Eagles earned a Round 2 game on Wednesday against District 10 champion Farrell.
Don Rebel hosts the Rebel Yell podcasts for HSSN.