Jack Ryan was a sophomore on the Briarcliff team than won a Gold Ball two years ago. But as a junior last year, he’s had to live with the bad taste of losing in a championship to a bitter rival.
Every day since last year’s loss to Pleasantville in the Section 1 Class B final was geared toward returning to the title game.
“I was never satisfied. Neither were any of these other guys satisfied,” Ryan said. “We wanted to get back to the championship again and we have some unfinished business now to take care of.”
Briarcliff will get another crack at capturing a title on Friday night. The third-seeded Bears rallied past No. 2 Irvington in the second half on Tuesday night at the Westchester County Center, 55-43, in a Class B semifinal. They’ll meet fourth-seeded Blind Brook in the final at 7:30 at Pace University on Friday.
Ryan led the way on Tuesday, scoring a team-high 18 points, including a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers. The senior guard also had three assists.
Briarcliff (19-4) took a one-point lead into the fourth after Tucker Wexler converted a basket and foul with 30 seconds to play. Wexler then opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer in a massive momentum swing.
Jackson Gonseth had 15 points for the Bears while Miles Jones contributed six assists and six rebounds and Spencer McCann grabbed nine rebounds.
“This was a complete team effort,” Ryan said. “Every single guy contributed. I’ve been waiting for Tucker to come alive like that. I’ve seen him do it in practice against our guys. I knew he could do it and I’m glad he did it there.”
Colby Martins scored 24 points for Irvington while Sidney Thybulle added 14 points and 17 rebounds. The duo took 35 of the 44 shots for the Bulldogs, who were 11 of 24 from the line in the game.
Listen to “The KDJ Show” on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. for a full interview with Briarcliff star Jack Ryan as the Bears head into the Section 1 final. To listen to last week’s show: