Towne watch: Boyd leads, rest of Coyotes follow

On­ward and up­ward: After help­ing Frank­lin Towne Charter to its first ever play­off berth as a ju­ni­or, Ry­an Boyd is now the pro­gram’s fo­cal point in 2013-14. ED MOR­RONE / TIMES PHOTO

At a Monday even­ing prac­tice, the Frank­lin Towne Charter boys bas­ket­ball team split them­selves down the middle and scattered to op­pos­ite ends of the court for a shoot­ing com­pet­i­tion. Each play­er had 90 seconds to make as many jump­ers as pos­sible from the high posts, and the side with the highest com­pos­ite score at the end won.

As each sub­sequent play­er took his turn, it ap­peared that the un­der­dog fac­tion down at the far end of the gym was go­ing to steal a vic­tory. 

But un­for­tu­nately for them, Ry­an Boyd still had to shoot.

Boyd, Towne’s sharp­shoot­ing seni­or two guard, made every single shot he at­temp­ted, and at such a rap­id rate that it be­came dif­fi­cult to keep an ac­cur­ate count. It was no sur­prise to see Boyd mobbed by team­mates after such an im­press­ive dis­play, as it’s that smooth shoot­ing touch that again has the Coyotes in play­off con­ten­tion.

“We have a rule on this team for Ry­an,” said Towne second-year head coach Chris Lauber. “If he’s open, he has to shoot. Any­time he has a look, he can shoot it. I might get mad and yell at some of the oth­er guys for tak­ing bad shots, but for him, there’s no such thing.”

At press time, Boyd was av­er­aging 19.1 points per game in eight Pub­lic League Di­vi­sion D con­tests, and 15.5 over­all. A four-year varsity play­er, his mat­ur­a­tion in­to one of the league’s more de­pend­able scorers came to fruition last sea­son. He erup­ted for 29 points in a game last year against World Com­mu­nic­a­tion Charter, nail­ing a school-re­cord nine three-point­ers be­fore ul­ti­mately lead­ing the pro­gram to its first ever play­off berth. This sea­son, in a close Jan. 6 win over Ran­dolph, Boyd nailed eight more treys en route to a school-re­cord 33 points. 

His ef­forts have Towne sit­ting at 8-8 over­all and 6-3 in the di­vi­sion, which is cur­rently tied for sixth. Only the top five from Di­vi­sion D qual­i­fy for the play­offs, and with three reg­u­lar sea­son games left (two against teams in front of them in the stand­ings: 9-1 Kens­ing­ton and 7-2 Palumbo), Boyd and com­pany most likely have to win out to make it back again this year, a thought that doesn’t faze Towne’s star play­er one bit.

“It’s so ex­cit­ing, to be able to go out there and con­trol our own des­tiny,” the Ta­cony nat­ive said. “If we go out there and take care of busi­ness, we can make the play­offs and go in there on fire. Who knows what our lim­it is? I know nobody ex­pects us from Di­vi­sion D, but maybe we can shock the world. Either way, I be­lieve in these guys 100 per­cent, and the rest of the sea­son is in our hands.”

Boyd’s older broth­er, Ray, at­ten­ded Towne (Class of 2009) and played bas­ket­ball for three years, so it was only nat­ur­al for Ry­an to fol­low in his sib­ling’s foot­steps. Ry­an saw Ray, “an en­er­get­ic, sixth man-type play­er,” nearly guide the Coyotes to the pro­gram’s first post­season berth in 2009 (Towne lost a tiebreak­er on a coin flip) and wished to fin­ish what his broth­er star­ted. Now, Ray Boyd, a re­cent gradu­ate of Temple Uni­versity’s school of broad­cast journ­al­ism who now works at WIP, can watch his young­er broth­er shine to the tune of 2.8 three point­ers made per game, which Lauber said is tops in the en­tire league.

“As a fresh­man he had skills, but he didn’t really know what he was do­ing out there,” Lauber said. “Then last year we star­ted see­ing glimpses where it would hap­pen more con­sist­ently. I don’t think even he knew how good he was, but once he real­ized his own ath­leti­cism and got more con­fid­ent in his shot, it star­ted click­ing. Now, if we need something, he’s the guy to do it.”

Boyd learned how to be a lead­er from pro­gram main­stays like Steve Smith and Na­je Benton, play­ers who gradu­ated a year ago. With both a scor­ing and lead­er­ship void to fill, Boyd stepped up.

“I’m not go­ing to lie, I was a little nervous, but I real­ized someone had to do it,” he said. “I’ve been on the team since fresh­man year and I know how com­pet­it­ive things are in the Pub­lic League, so who bet­ter than someone who’s ex­per­i­enced it all? If someone had to step up, then why not me? I want to be the an­chor.”

He spoke ma­turely about the re­spons­ib­il­ity of ment­or­ing young­er play­ers like ju­ni­ors Steve Cal­la­han and Will Welch, and fresh­men Joe Green­stein and Cor­delle Swin­son, play­ers who will take the reins when Boyd moves on.

“It’s something I take to heart,” he said. “I want to help these young­er guys be­cause I really care about this school as a whole. I want them to have suc­cess after I’m gone.”

Poignant and well-spoken, it’s no sur­prise to hear that Boyd is an hon­ors stu­dent at Towne. He’s cur­rently en­rolled in two ad­vanced place­ment classes, and is in­volved in the school’s ment­or coun­sel­ing pro­gram for fresh­men, which helps ease the trans­ition from middle to high school. On Fri­day, the ment­or coun­sel­ing pro­gram and stu­dent gov­ern­ment will take a joint trip to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. for a lead­er­ship con­fer­ence.

“To get in­volved here just makes high school so much fun,” Boyd said. “These teach­ers here really care about you. Plus, I’ve al­ways kind of liked school, so I don’t have any re­grets. I can look back and smile know­ing I made the most of these four years, and that’s something that really makes me proud to be able to say.”

Boyd said he’s ap­plied to six col­leges, already earn­ing schol­ar­ships to both Holy Fam­ily and Ar­ca­dia. However, like his older broth­er, Temple is the pre­ferred des­tin­a­tion, and Boyd is still wait­ing to hear back from the school. He thinks he’d like to pur­sue a ca­reer in either broad­cast journ­al­ism or sports man­age­ment, and Boyd said he wouldn’t be shy about try­ing out for Temple’s bas­ket­ball team as a walk-on, should he get ac­cep­ted to the school.

“They’re a Di­vi­sion I pro­gram, so they’re really pop­u­lar,” he said. “But it’s something I’d be will­ing to try. I’ve nev­er been afraid of a chal­lenge.”

But first things first: Boyd has an­oth­er hefty chal­lenge on his plate, and that’s at­tempt­ing to guide Towne back to the post­season. It won’t be easy, but that’s fine with Boyd.

“I just want to make the most out of it, be­cause I’ve had a great time play­ing with these guys,” he said. “This is a game I’ve loved since I was 3 years old. It’s a little nerve wrack­ing, so we’re just try­ing to take it a quarter at a time. We pre­tend every quarter is a new game, and we al­ways like to say, ‘We’ve got four games today, so let’s go out and win them all.’ We made the play­offs last year for the first time in school his­tory and felt really good about that.

“Now, we want to do it again.” ••

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