WESTFIELD, NJ — Quick hands on defensive, a smooth jump shot and a passion for the game are what make Molly Ryan one of the leaders on this year’s Westfield High School varsity girls basketball team.
The junior is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week. Ryan scored 11 points, graded four rebounds and recorded a game-high seven steals in the team’s 48-28 win over a talented Roselle Catholic team Tuesday.
“The Roselle Catholic game was a very big win for us. It was a good game and it gave us a lot of confidence,” Ryan said. “I think I have been playing pretty well this season. I am most proud of my team. I feel as if we are playing really well together, which is why we are doing well. I hope we continue to do this and improve.”
Ryan is highly touted for her ability to create havoc on defense. Through nine games so far this season, Ryan has 46 steals, for an average of about five per game.
“Molly is a great shooter and defender,” senior captain Danielle Rinaldi said. “She uses her long arms to cause turnovers and get steal after steal, which most of the time turn into transition baskets for us.”
It’s not something you hear often from basketball players these days, but Ryan prides herself on her defense.
“I love defense,” Ryan said. “To be quite honest, I don't know how I get so many steals. I think it is because I have very long arms and play the ball well.”
On the other end of the court, Ryan is also the leading scorer for the Lady Blue Devils, averaging 12.2 points per game.
“Molly has a relentless will to succeed which is contagious, and brings up the team's energy and morale,” Rinaldi said. “Each year, her shot and ball handling improves, but this year the most noticeable difference in Molly is her control and her defense. She has matured as a player and is much more of a leader this year.”
Ryan said the highlight of the season thus far was the game against No. 2 state-ranked Patrick School on Jan. 12.
“Although we lost, we played them really tight,” Ryan said. “They are a very good team and it shows that we are eligible to play with anyone.”
Rinaldi said Ryan will be key in the 7-2 Blue Devil’s hopes on making a playoff run this season. “She has fired up the team in many games this season and will continue to do so as we approach tournament play,” Rinaldi said. “We rely on Molly to get steals and pressure our opponents to force turnovers, and she is a very important part of our offense.”
The Westfield girls varsity basketball team will next take on Union Thursday at home at 4 p.m.
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Now located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.