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Ryan leads his team into Empire 8 tournament

Keegan Ryan brings in a truck-load of accolades as Fisher prepares for its semi-final matchup tonight with Nazareth.

Tanner Swan, Editor-In-Chief

Following his 41st double-double performance last Saturday, Keegan Ryan has been named Division III National Player of the Week and the Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year.  

The week for Ryan featured a career high in points with 33 against Elmira, another 28 points against Stevens, and 21 points with also 10 rebounds against Hartwick.  Ryan also became the all time leader in rebounds in St. John Fisher’s history passing Chris Sullivan.  Sullivan had held the record for 23 straight seasons.

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*photo provided by St. John Fisher athletics.

For head coach Rob Kornaker, he has gotten used to Ryan’s success statistically but he has become even more impressed with his improvement in the intangible skills department.

“He’s always been a great player statistically, but I think this year he has taken some strides to become a much better leader,” said Kornaker.  “I was just as proud of him with the 21 and 10 he had [against Hartwick] as I was with his coaching on the bench and his leadership after he fouled out.”

Now Ryan and the rest of the Cardinals prepare for what looks to be a memorable Empire 8 conference tournament based on the epic overtime games that occurred throughout conference play in 2017.

The last three out of four Fisher wins have come in overtime, with the one against Nazareth taking two overtimes to claim a winner.  Kornaker hopes that his team’s ability to win close games will give them the edge in the tournament hosted on their home court.

“I hope it helps keep us humble,” he acknowledged. “It’s pretty even.  It’ll keep us grounded that if we don’t bring our A game, we will get beat.”

For Ryan, the Cardinals keys to success is pretty simple.

“We’ve really been playing together lately and moving the ball while looking for mismatches,” he said.  “We just need to stay together and really play good defense so hopefully that will lead to easy offense.”

Ryan was not the only one to bring home Empire 8 accolades following the conclusion to the regular season, as Kornaker and his staff earned Coaching Staff of the Year.  Tyler English also earned second team honors.

However, none of that means anything when the Cardinals face Nazareth at 6 p.m.  The other semi-final will also take place at Fisher between Hartwick and Stevens at 8 p.m.  

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