RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — St. Thomas More senior Ryder Kirsch is one of five nominees for the Sanford Pentagon/Keloland Media Group Boys Player of the Year. The Cavaliers senior led the way on both ends of the floor, helping guide the Cavs to the top seed in Class A.
Ryder Kirsch was a four-year varsity player for St. Thomas More, and in his final season, moved his game inside.
“Had to develop into the post position for our team because that’s kind of where we were lacking. I just had to get more physical in the paint, and I felt like I did a pretty good job in my off-season at getting bigger,” St. Thomas More senior Ryder Kirsch said.
Kirsch led the team in scoring, averaging more than 20 points per game. He also led the Cavaliers in rebounding, but it was his passing that truly separated him from other post players.
“He led us in assists, you know he had 4.2 assists per game, and for playing in the post, that’s pretty good,” St. Thomas More Head Coach David Hollenbeck said.
His biggest improvement came on the defensive end of the floor.
“Really protected the rim real well for us. So he took care of the lane which allowed our other guys to really get out and pressure the basketball a little bit better,” Hollenbeck said.
“Coach Messick does a really good job at coming up with good defensive plans before the game. He gives us confidence to be in that position. With his coaching, and help from my teammates, it’s a pretty easy job,” Kirsch said.
Though his senior season came to early end, Kirsch will cherish the time he spent at St. Thomas More.
“Playing for Coach Hollenbeck, because he’s a great coach. Just to be even able to wear the jersey, and play with my friends in front of this atmosphere, it was just awesome,” Kirsch said.
Don’t forget to tune into our Player of the Year Special tomorrow at 6:30 right here on KELO-TV. We’ll hear from all 10 nominees, and name our winners, plus you’ll hear from Kansas Head Coach Bill Self.