A late-bloomer blooms Boys basketball: Atholton senior Bryan Worsley has exceeded 20 points six times this season and is demonstrating his potential.

February 13, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Atholton power forward Bryan Worsley, during games last week against Long Reach and Centennial, finally came of age.

Atholton trailed by 14 points to Long Reach after three quarters, but a surge by senior co-captain Worsley and by teammate Keith Jefferson led the Raiders to an 84-83 win. Worsley scored 23 points -- 12 in the fourth quarter -- and had 13 rebounds.

Then, in a loss to unbeaten fifth-ranked Centennial, Worsley scored 27 points and had nine rebounds. His 11-point third quarter rallied Atholton from eight to two points down before his two free throws with 7: 05 left gave Atholton a 47-45 lead. Atholton eventually ran out of gas and lost, 67-57.

"He showed he has the potential to take over a game," Atholton coach Jim Albert said of his senior, who didn't play organized ball until high school and didn't start until this season. "He realized what he can do."

Worsley, a broad-shouldered, 6-foot-3, 200-pound player, averages 16.4 points and 6.5 rebounds for Atholton. His game against Centennial was his best, but he also scored 25 against 16th-ranked Edgewood and has scored at least 20 points six times.

"He has a nice soft jumper and is a good shooter from outside, but we don't ask that of him, because we can't afford to pull him away from the basket," Albert said. "And we ask him not to block shots so he can stay out of foul trouble."

Worsley is an unselfish player who passes well and is good in transition. "Defense used to be his weakness, but he is much improved, and now it's a strength," Albert said. "He doubles down on the baseline and denies the ball well."

Against Centennial's top scorer, Matt Laycock, Worsley was caught off guard, and Laycock sank his first six shots in the first quarter. "Coach Albert took me out of the game and told me to deny Laycock the ball. I hadn't realized that we were playing straight up man-for-man and not helping on the backside." Afterward, Laycock scored just seven more points, as Worsley denied him the ball and boxed him out on rebounds.

"I knew I had to be a big factor in that game, that I had to outplay Laycock, who was the toughest player I've faced this season," he said. "If we wanted to get real respect, we needed to beat them." We're not the type of team that can play at the fast pace Centennial likes. We're too inexperienced."

The Long Reach game inspiredWorsley, because the Lightning, who start three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, had upset Atholton on a last-second shot earlier in the season, 51-50.

"I told myself we're not losing to them again," Worsley said. "It's embarrassing to lose to a team with no seniors. I couldn't let that happen.

Worsley did some soul searching after that Long Reach victory and made some changes. That may be why he produced his best effort against Centennial.

"I haven't done much in the first half of games most of the season," he said, "and if I had played more consistently, we would have won more close games, so I took it upon myself to start playing hard from the start against Centennial."

"My size and strength are my biggest advantages," he continued. "I'm kind of quick and can jump. Ever since I stopped putting the ball on the floor and dribbling in zones, some of my post moves have been pretty good, and I've done well."

Pub Date: 2/13/97

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