Monroe Catholic's Ryan Brantley is the only player from his 30-1 Rams team to participate in Saturday's AABC Senior All-Star Game in Anchorage / Photo credit Brantley family Facebook
To come within inches of perfection only to have it ripped away was a devastating feeling that still haunts Monroe Catholic senior Ryan Brantley.
The Rams carried a 30-0 record into last month’s Class 3A state championship game before dropping a 34-33 decision to Grace Christian.
The first team all-state guard is still reeling from that defeat.
“I’ll be honest, it’s a nightmare that will probably haunt me for a long time,” Brantley told me. “There’s such a fine line between winning and losing championships a one-point game. It’s kind of devastating.”
Saturday night’s AABC Senior All-Star Game is the perfect remedy for an aching heart.
The game is sure to bring out smiles and feature good times and highlight-reel plays.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to lace ‘em up one more time,” Brantley said. “I have never participated in an all-star game like this before. I’m looking forward to playing with the best of the best in Alaska.”
He wants to play well on behalf of his school and the Golden Heart City.
“I’m definitely representing Monroe Catholic and Fairbanks. They have done so much for me,” Brantley said. “I’m gonna represent Monroe the best that I can.”
The AABC's all-star event will begin held today with an awards banquet and continuing Saturday with a slew of games, activities and Hall of Fame ceremony.
Seniors from all over Alaska in Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A will compete in four different games, that will feature 3-point shooting and dunk contests at halftime. The games will be 1A/2A girls and boys, 3A/4A girls and boys. It all starts at 2 p.m.
The AABC Hall of Fame ceremony will include the induction of former 3-time Alaska player of the year Trajan Langdon of East Anchorage and former championship coach George Houston of Juneau-Douglas.
Brantley is most looking forward to playing on the same court as top 4A players like Service’s Nathan Fromm and East’s dynamic duo of Trey Huckabay and Moses Miller.
“I ‘ve wanted to play with them for a long time,” Brantley said.
The 6-foot guard from Monroe Catholic is a deadly 3-point shooter and played a pivotal role in helping the Rams flirt with a perfect season.
Brantley is symbolic to this season’s Monroe Catholic team, with both having success with a grind-over-glitz style of play.
“Ryan is a tremendous example of what it means to work hard to develop as a player. Last year Ryan was not named to our all-conference team. This year he was not only in the discussion for our conference player of the year, but he was a first team all-state player,” Monroe Catholic coach Frank Ostanik told me.
“That growth is a direct result of the time Ryan spent in the weight room training with our strength and conditioning coach and the time he put in on the court. As a coach, I root for players who work hard and sacrifice for success. I am the president of the Ryan Brantley Fan Club.”
Van Williams is a freelance writer in Anchorage and a correspondent for the Alaska School Activities Association.
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