Thomas Sorber’s block party helps Ryan retain Radnor in PIAA quarterfinals

Inspector Gadget has nothing on Thomas Sorber.

On Friday night at Bensalem High School, the 6-foot-10 Archbishop Ryan Jr. saved his best “go-go-gadget arm” maneuver almost for last, blocking a late three-point corner that helped secure the 69 win. Raiders’ -65 vs. Radnor in the PIAA Class 5A Quarter-Finals.

The win sets up a rematch with Imhotep Charter at 7 p.m. Monday 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. His nine blocked shots, however, were perhaps the most important.

“He plays like that on defense almost every game,” Ryan’s coach Joe Zeglinski said after the game. “It’s such an advantage for us because we can really press the ball and the guys don’t want to go too far…”

Later, he added, “He just erases everything. I don’t know if there’s been a better shot blocker in the area for a long time. He’s obviously special on the defensive side, especially.

With about 39 seconds left and the Raiders (16-10) clinging to a three-point lead, Radnor elder Danny Rosenblum rebounded on a missed free throw then backpedaled to the corner for a three points in front of his own bench.

When Rosenblum came together to shoot, Sorber still had one foot in the paint. It may have seemed inconceivable to most that he could challenge the shot, let alone make a block.

Size 16 shoes, however, cover more ground than most. Long strides from a 6-10 frame couldn’t have hurt either. And long arms; can’t forget them. Likewise, don’t sleep on the brains that coordinate the whole.

“I knew he had a slow release,” Sorber said, “so you have 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 the seek.

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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 have to earn their buckets at the rim,” said Williams, who also had a key defensive strip on Radnor senior Jackson Hicke (Princeton) who forced a late turnover. Hicke finished with 14 points after early foul issues. Senior Jackson Gaffney led the undefeated Raptors (28-1), District 1 champions, with 21 points off the bench.

Zeglinski added that Sorber learned to better avoid fouls while blocking shots. When opponents fired last season, Sorber would often rush, a known trigger for a referee’s whistle.

Sorber has also returned to better form, Zeglinski said.

“His timing is unreal,” the coach said. “He’s really had that all the time, but I think he’s just been in really good shape this year so he’s able to really challenge every shot now. Last year he was getting tired because he was playing pretty much the whole game. This year he is in better shape and he is able to finish games for us defensively.

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