Inspector Gadget has nothing against Thomas Sorber.
Friday night at Bensalem High School, 6-foot-10 Archbishop Ryan Jr. almost saved his best “go-go gadget arm” maneuver for last, blocking a three-pointer from the late corner that helped set the 69-65 Raiders win to secure Radnor in PIAA Class 5A Quarterfinals.
The win leads to a rematch with Imhotep Charter on Monday at 7pm at St Joseph’s Prep. The Panthers beat the Raiders 69-58 earlier this month.
On Friday night, Ryan’s senior guard Darren Williams led all scorers with 28 points, including 19 in the first half. Sorber finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. However, his nine blocked shots may have been the most important.
“He plays like that on defense almost every game,” Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski said after the game. “It’s such an advantage for us because we can put the ball under real pressure and the lads don’t want to go in too deep…”
He later added: “He just deletes everything. I don’t know if there’s been a better shotblocker in the area in a long time. He’s obviously special defensively, special.”
With about 39 seconds left and the Raiders (16-10) holding on to a three-point lead, Radnor senior Danny Rosenblum rebounded from a missed free throw and then backed into the corner for a three-pointer in front of his own bench .
When Rosenblum assembled to shoot, Sorber still had a foot in the paint. It may have seemed inconceivable to most that he could contest the shot, let alone actually make a block.
However, size 16 shoes cover more ground than most. Big steps of a 6-10 frame couldn’t have hurt either. And long arms; can’t forget it. Also, don’t sleep on the heads that coordinate the overall package.
“I knew he had a slow release,” Sorber said, “so you get to know the player before you know who you’re attacking. I knew he had a slow release so I knew my long body could go and get it.
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The block was almost a perfect bookend. Sorber blocked Radnor’s first two shots of the game. In fact, he had seven blocks at halftime.
“It’s a relief to know that teams really need to earn their buckets on the rim,” said Williams, who also had a key defensive streak against Radnor senior Jackson Hicke (Princeton) that forced a late turnover. Hicke finished with 14 points after an early foul game. Senior Jackson Gaffney led the previously undefeated Raptors (28-1), the District 1 champion, with 21 points from the bench.
Zeglinski added that Sorber learned to avoid fouls better while blocking shots. When opponents fired last season, Sorber would often lunge, a well-known trigger for a referee’s whistle.
Sorber was also in better shape, said Zeglinski.
“His timing is unreal,” said the coach. “He’s really had it all along, but I think he’s just gotten into really good form this year, so he can really hit every shot now. Last year he got tired from playing pretty much the whole game. He’s in better shape this year and can finish games for us on defense.”