One year after they were only permitted to play a limited number of conference games that began in January, both the St. Mary’s Ryken High School boys and girls basketball teams are off to rapid starts that have both dreaming of making an impact in the tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference this season.
Last weekend proved to be a very busy one for the St. Mary’s Ryken girls (6-1 overall, 0-1 in the WCAC) as the Knights split two games. On Sunday afternoon against St. John’s in their first WCAC contest of the season, St. Mary’s Ryken suffered a 71-42 setback to St. John’s. One day earlier St. Mary’s Ryken made quick work of Friendship Collegiate Academy, 51-36. The Knights owned a 35-12 lead at the intermission and coasted through the final 16 minutes.
“We like to get up and down the court,” said the Knights’ fifth-year coach Toyja Somerville. “We like to play fast, fast, fast. The biggest difference between this year’s team and some of the previous teams is this team doesn’t give up when they get behind. We’ve fallen behind a few games and been able to come back and win. We have only a few seniors, but they have really played a valuable leadership role.”
The girls opened the season with a narrow, 51-48, victory over Archbishop Spalding on Dec. 1, but they would eventually finish the month 5-0 with an average margin of just over 20 points per game. St. Mary’s Ryken trounced Concordia Prep 59-19, downed Ridge View (S.C.) 63-35, edged Trinity (Pa.) 72-63, then ended 2021 with a 76-65 victory over Connelly School of the Holy Cross.
Through the first six weeks of the season the Knights have gotten ample production from senior Carine Pinkney (17.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game) and juniors Mekhia Chase (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.6 spg) and Lourden Banks (9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.2 spg). Pinkney transferred from Southern of Anne Arundel County prior to her senior year.
While the St. Mary’s Ryken girls went undefeated through December, the Knights’ boys basketball team (5-2, 1-2) started quickly before suffering a pair of setbacks to WCAC powers. The Knights won their first five games, including a 57-53 triumph over WCAC foe St. John’s before falling to DeMatha 66-53 and Gonzaga 76-59.
The Knights will finish out the month with home games next Tuesday against Bishop Ireton High School and the following Sunday, Jan. 23, against Paul VI High School before traveling to Bishop McNamara High School on Jan. 28.