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Everett comes up huge at Palestra

Ryan Everett scored nine points in Ryan’s semifinal win over Neumann-Goretti at the Palestra. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ryan Everett might not be the biggest guy on the court.

But whenever the Archbishop Ryan High School senior is out there, he does whatever it takes to make an impact.

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He can always do it with his instant offense.

The Bensalem resident has never seen a shot he can’t drain, and that’s what gets him on the court for the star-studded Raiders.

But it’s his defense that keeps him there.

“I know I’m not the biggest guy, so I just try to do whatever I can to help,” said Everett, a 6-foot-1, 145-pound combo guard who cracked the rotation last year and this year is one of the first guys off the bench for Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski. “I’ll fight through screens, do whatever I can, get in their head. I’m not as big as some guys, and they can sometimes outmuscle you, but there’s a lot of things you can do. If you’re smaller, you have to do anything to stay out there.”

It’s hard to imagine Everett seeing much time on the bench because when the lights were brightest, he was at his best.

Everett hit three of his four three-point attempts for nine points, and also mixed in three assists, a block and a steal as the Raiders bested Neumann-Goretti 48-43 in front of a packed house at the Palestra in the Catholic League semifinals.

The win sends the Raiders back to the finals for the second time in three years. They’ll play Roman in a game that was played after the Times went to press.

The Raiders’ stars shined as usual, including leading scorer Thomas Sorber, who poured in 20 points despite battling foul trouble.

But they needed their spark off the bench and he came through when his number was called.

It’s not the first time he stepped up under the bright lights. He did the same last year in the city title game when he drained four treys in the Raiders’ setback to eventual state champ Imhotep Charter.

“I’ve played in some big games because I’m part of this team, the first game I ever played (key minutes) was against the Patrick School, and they were nationally ranked, so you play in a lot of big games here,” Everett said. “But it’s easy. You’re playing with guys like Thomas. Last year we had Zaire (Paris). This year we have guys like Darren (Williams) and Jaden (Murray). When you’re playing with them, you find yourself open.

“That’s my job on offense. Everyone collapses because we have guys like Thomas. They come to him, I’m open in the corner, he gets it to me and I have to knock it down. That’s why I’m out there and I get room because of guys like Thomas. I have it easy.”

Everett might make it look easy, but don’t let it fool you.

He’s worked for this his entire life.

His father is heavily involved in basketball.

He owns Charger Nation Sports, a basketball gym in Morrisville. He was also involved with the Conwell-Egan basketball team that won a state championship in 2015.

Because of that, Everett spent a lot of time around that team. 

He knows how exciting a state championship can be and he hopes to experience it as a player after experiencing it as a fan years ago.

“He was a big part of the program, helping kids get into school and he knew them because he was always around basketball,” Everett said of his dad. “I was around that team a lot. I was probably like 7 or 8 and they won a state championship. It was great, everyone was excited. It would be great to do it again.”

A state championship would be great. So would a PCL title and of course a city championship. No matter what happens in the PCL finals, Ryan will play Imhotep Charter on March 2 at Lincoln for the District 12 Class 5A title.

Win or lose, the Raiders will head to the state tournament. Everett hopes that run lasts all the way to the state finals, and he hopes to continue playing basketball beyond graduation.

“I definitely want to play next year, but I’m not sure where,” said Everett, who spent two years on the Raiders soccer team before committing to basketball prior to his junior year. “I’d like to major in criminal justice, that’s something I’ve always found interesting. I don’t know, maybe I’ll join the FBI. You can do a lot and it’s very interesting.”

Wherever he ends up, he’ll bring all of the things he’s learned about basketball and more from his days on the Raiders.

And while he hopes he ends the season with three championships, no matter what happens, he won’t be leaving Ryan empty handed.

“Joe’s brother (Sam Zeglinski) is one of our coaches, I’m not sure a lot of people know that,” Everett said. “Sammy helps me a lot when I’m not hot. He played overseas. He’s a great coach, and he’s good at helping shooters. 

“Joe always boosts my confidence. He’s always a great coach, he’ll do anything for us, on and off the court. He’ll do anything. Best coaches I’ve ever had. Well, my dad, too, when I was younger, but we have great coaches here.”

Great teammates, too.

“We’ve been close since the day we started playing together,” Everett said. “Even when I wasn’t playing as much sophomore year, I was swinging from JV, we were all friends. That’s the best thing, we’re so close, we really have a lot of fun. That makes it more fun. We’re in it together.”

Oh, he’ll also have memories of playing at the Palestra.

“I know I’ll be telling my kids about this,” Everett said. “Playing at the Palestra is crazy. You try not to think about it, but it’s great. I’ll be telling stories forever.”

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