The best start in school history has the Archbishop Ryan girls' basketball team on the brink of its first Catholic League title since 1975.
The Ragdolls started the season 17-0 and 7-0 in the Catholic League before suffering close defeats to Cardinal O'Hara and Neumann-Goretti this past week. They played a tough nonleague schedule that included wins over Bishop Shanahan, Penn Charter, Germantown Academy, Villa Joseph Marie, Nazareth Academy, Downingtown East, Camden Catholic, Perkiomen Valley and York Catholic.
Archbishop Ryan is averaging 56 points per game while giving up a shade over 41.
The Ragdolls' starting lineup consists of senior guard Annie Cashman, junior guard Taliyah Rahman, senior forward Danielle McCurdy, senior forward Caela Russell, and junior forward Monee Moore. Junior forward Shayne Glenn plays a key role off the bench, according to Mike McCusker, who is in his fifth season as the head coach at Archbishop Ryan.
A balanced offensive attack has been a big part of the team's success this season.
"We have six girls that could be in double figures each night," said McCusker. "We just try to share the ball."
Senior guard Madison Taylor, senior forward Jackie Schaeffer, junior guard Jazzmin Pena, sophomore forward Caitlin Geiger, sophomore guard Gabi Deluisi, and freshman guard Luca Verello round out the roster.
Despite a Catholic League title being within reach, the Ragdolls continue to stick with a one-game approach.
"We don't really talk about the record and wins," said McCusker. "We're always focused on the next opponent."
Staying focused on the present will be crucial for a Ryan team that still has to face Catholic League foes Archbishop Carroll, Archbishop Wood, and Bonner-Prendergast.
McCusker said the goal every season is to make it to the Catholic League semifinals, which will take place on Feb. 20 at Jefferson University.