Shannon Ryan backs down in the post for Beekmantown.
Beekmantown’s girls varsity basketball team traveled to Moriah for a CVAC matchup on Feb. 2, and, as they have all season, the Eagles used sharp interior passing, textbook post moves, persistent rebounding and a big height advantage to defeat a more experienced team. Beekmantown improved to 9-3 in the CVAC with the 50-38 win, while Moriah fell to 5-7.
While Moriah started five seniors, the Eagles have only one senior on their roster (guard Rylei Porter), and are paced by two towering, skilled post players – freshman Shannon Ryan and sophomore Emily Anderson.
Ryan scored 26 points against Moriah, making a series of difficult catches – both on the block and on the run – and connecting on an array of put-backs, power moves and inside set shots.
Despite some recent low-scoring games, the Beekmantown freshman is on pace to end the season among the top scorers in the region. After scoring 38 against NCCS Dec. 10, she scored 42 against Plattsburgh on Dec. 16.
“Shannon’s family is a basketball family,” Beekmantown Greg Waters noted. “Her aunts played Division I college basketball. One played at West Virginia; the other played at Sienna.”
Shannon’s brother, Keegan, is also among the CVAC’s most prolific scorers this season, while older brother Thomas Ryan was named to the All-CVAC First Team last year.
“It’s been beneficial to have people surrounding me who like basketball,” Ryan said. “My brother and I practice together. My brother’s pretty good.”
Ryan’s coaches –Waters and former Beekmantown star and SUNY Potsdam captain Kate Munson-Duprey – are stressing the basics right now: power moves near the hoop. They expect Ryan to develop into a complete player, however.
“I think she’s a lot like (former NCCS star) Courtney Coryea,” Waters commented. “When I marked Courtney with a guard she posted us up. When I marked her with a post player she took us out the three-point line and beat us off the dribble. That’s what Shannon’s eventually going to do, because she has quick feet. Shannon’s very athletic, as is Emily Anderson. They’re both fast and fundamentally sound and coordinated – especially for a freshman and a sophomore.”
Anderson is clearly an intrinsic part of the Eagles’ success this year. Against Moriah, she tallied 13 points and repeatedly snapped picture-perfect passes to Ryan for easy buckets. Anderson grabbed 21 rebounds in one game this season and dolled out 11 assists in another.
“Emily and I just click,” Ryan said. “She’s a great passer and an all-around great player.”
Despite all of their success this year, a 44-10 thrashing by an undefeated Saranac Central team on Jan. 2 showed the Eagles how much they need to improve in order to join the ranks to the area’s elite teams. Ryan seems to embrace the challenge.
“I have to work on a lot of things,” she said. “Dribbling, getting stronger, shooting, post moves, driving to the basket – mainly dribbling, though. I’ll have to work on that, but there’s a lot of time. Hopefully by the end I’ll be alright.”