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Mars’ Ceh reaches 1,000 points in career-closing playoff loss

Poignant Plaudits
After reaching 1,000 career points in a WPIAL Class 5A boys hoops playoff loss at Franklin Regional, Mars senior Ryan Ceh displays a congratulatory sign while his father, Bob, stands to the right and his mother, Erin, to the left. Ceh had a game-high 26 points and added nine rebounds in the effort. Brendan Howe/Butler Eagle

MURRYSVILLE — At once Monday night, Ryan Ceh experienced contrasting emotions.

Having just gone through the post-game handshake line, the towering Mars guard was dealing with the disappointment of his high school career coming to an end. Just then, Franklin Regional’s public address announcer informed the gym of Ceh’s accomplishment.

Ceh was handed a congratulatory sign and, with a parent on each hip, did his best to hold a smile while blinking away the tears that had begun to well in his eyes. He wouldn’t allow the melancholic circumstance to damper a photo he’ll look back on fondly.

Not long after, he confessed that he’d swap that moment — and the 1,000 points that led to it — to be on the better end of the 67-50 first-round WPIAL Class 5A boys basketball playoff result.

“(It’s) obviously a bittersweet moment, scoring 1,000 in your last game,” Ceh said. “I’d trade all 1,000 points I scored to win tonight and just keep playing. Really, it’s about the memories you make with your friends and not the points you score. Really, I’ve done it in two years after scoring 100 points my sophomore year.

“I can remember maybe 10 points off the top of my head. I can’t even remember all the points I scored tonight.”

The third-quarter three-pointer to lessen the Planets’ deficit to 13 points, though?

“I did pay attention to that one,” Ceh admitted with a grin.

He finished the road matchup against Franklin Regional with a game-best 26 points and added nine rebounds, despite the Panthers being well-aware he was Mars’ preferred scoring option.

“Ceh’s a great player,” Franklin Regional coach Jesse Reed said. “It’s hard to hold him down. We tried our best and he still makes a bunch of tough shots.”

Planets coach Rob Carmody said Ceh is the program’s 13th 1,000-point scorer since 2007 and the eighth since 2018. Ceh finishes his prep odyssey with 1,007 points.

“It’s really cool, just knowing ... how strong of a program it’s been,” Ceh said. “I put myself in a pretty good group of guys up there. We have a banner at school with all the 1,000-point scorers on it. ... It’s just been really cool to be a part of that and know that my legacy lives on for a little bit.”

Ceh’s been an integral part of what Mars hoops stands for, doing everything from lending a hand at former Planets standout Robby Carmody’s inaugural youth clinic last summer to starring on the hardwood.

“I’d give somebody $100 if they could find somebody to say something negative about Ryan,” Carmody said. “He’s that kind of kid. When you have a guy like that who’s the face of your program, win or lose you feel pretty darn good about what you’ve done.”

It didn’t always seem that Ceh was destined to represent Mars. His path to 1,000 points was a distinctive one.

“Ryan was not even a starter for us on his eighth grade junior high team,” Carmody explained. “As a ninth-grader, he didn’t play varsity basketball. It was COVID. As a sophomore, I think he played in eight or nine — maybe 10 — basketball games. It’s really been the past two years that he’s blossomed. He’s grown. He’s 17 years old. His best basketball is in front of him.”

Not that he hasn’t made a lasting impression already. Carmody said that Ceh was a sort of talent the Planets hadn’t seen before — which is saying something.

“He is the most unique basketball player we’ve had,” he added. “Big Mike (Michael Carmody) was different because he was 295 pounds. Robby (Carmody) was just so freaking athletic. Andrew Recchia, Tasso (Sfanos).

“Ryan is just that new age (player). He’s 6-6, he can play in the post, he can shoot, he’s bouncy, he’s long.”

Looking to play college basketball, Ceh has been in contact with Marietta, Seton Hill and Gannon . He hopes to receive an offer soon.

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