Brockington helps Ryan bounce back, earn first PIAA berth

If Izaiah Brockington learned one thing about Archbishop Ryan's Catholic League semifinal loss last week, it was to attack at all costs.

Perhaps the most offensively aggressive he'd been all season, Brockington scored 33 points at the Palestra in a 75-66 loss to eventual champion Archbishop Wood.

But perhaps in the process, Brockington - and by extension Ryan - learned and improved.

"I just know that I have to start off attacking," Brockington said, "because that will get other guys open, and it'll get us going."

Thursday night at Lincoln, the 6-foot-4 wing did just that, leading Ryan to a 57-40 victory against Frankford in a PIAA play-in matchup.

The Class 6A win earned the Raiders the first PIAA playoff berth in school history.

In the first game at Lincoln, West Catholic held off World Communications, 73-70. The win secured the Burrs the No. 3 seed in Class 3A play. World Comm will be the No. 4 seed.

For Ryan (20-5) Brockington finished with 22 points, including a dunk on the game's first possession.

Coming out aggressive wasn't all the NJIT commit learned. Last season, the Raiders also lost in the PCL semifinals to Neumann-Goretti.

In the Raiders next game, the PCL hangover may have played a role in the subsequent PIAA play-in loss at Lincoln to Simon Gratz, which went on an impressive quarterfinal run.

"We all remember that feeling from last season," Brockington said. "We were in this exact same gym with the exact same circumstances and we dropped the ball."

Later, he added: "The first thing we said after the Wood loss was we can't let this spill over into our state run."

Quality ball movement helped Ryan do just that. Of the Raiders 16 field goals, nine came via assist.

The Raiders led, 31-17, at intermission and never looked back.

Matiss Kulackovskis finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Fred Taylor added six points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Frankford struggled from the field, but got double-digit points from Anthony Rodriguez (15) and Tyree Corbett (14).

Ryan will play again next week. The PIAA playoff brackets typically come out Sunday evening.

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