Devils’ Rasile Ohio’s No. 2 scorer
Bill Bogan has been playing, coaching or watching high school basketball in the Mahoning Valley for the last 42 years, and there are few key facts he knows to be true.
One of them is that teams with players who accept specific roles usually have the most success. The longtime coach and former Badger standout, who is now the president of the Trumbull County Coaches Association, has seen nearly every role imaginable.
Not many were as unique as that of McDonald superstar Zach Rasile and the players who surrounded him.
“Everybody understood a role,” said Bogan of watching a McDonald team led by Zach’s father, Jeff Rasile. “In today’s world, so many people are afraid to assign roles, and Jeff didn’t do that. Each kid accepted and understood their role so well. Zach played within the parameters of everyone’s role so well.”
So well, in fact, he became one of the greatest scorers in Ohio high school history.
After being named the TCCA boys senior Player of the Year on Friday, Zach will go down as one of Trumbull County’s all-time greats as well.
“It’s obviously a pretty big award,” Zach said. “A lot of great players have won it in the past, and there were a lot of really good players up for it this year, so it’s a big honor for me to be able to win it.”
There was never much of a question.
The sharp-shooting guard averaged 38 points per game as a senior to go along with 5.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.7 steals. He holds state records for most 3-pointers in a season (140, 2016-17) and most 3s in a career (485). He is second on Ohio’s career scoring list with 3,013 points — only the second player in state history to crack 3,000 (trailing Jon Diebler’s 3,208).
The West Liberty (W.Va.) State University commit also is the first player in OHSAA history to make at least 100 3-pointers in all four years of high school. The 6-foot Rasile, who also boasted slick ball-handling skills and an ability to finish around the rim, scored 30 or more points in a game 58 times, at least 40 points 25 times and 50 or more three times.
His relentless work ethic led a to a list of individual accolades that goes on and on, but maybe his greatest accomplishment is the Blue Devils’ 81-20 record during his career. Zach’s focus — and that of his teammates — was always on winning, which led to a group of players accepting their roles.
“Our coaches, they pretty much tell us what our roles are,” he said. “Before the season, they kind of break it down and just talk about, individually, we want players to do this and this… My role was to score and put points on the board.
“We really did play our roles well, and we worked really well as a unit.”
The results proved it.
McDonald was ranked No. 1 in the final AP state rankings Zach’s freshman year when the Blue Devils finished 25-2 and won a district championship. They ended up No. 2 in the poll during a 21-3 sophomore campaign, and after averaging 34.7 points per game during a tough 13-11 season as a junior, McDonald won another Division IV district title in 2020, finishing 22-4.
They may have deserved a chance to go even further in 2020, but there was no call when contact was made with Zach as he shot a 3-pointer in the final seconds of a 47-45 loss to Lucas in the regional semifinal.
Jeff Rasile, who retired after the season, said he’ll miss coaching Zach more than anything else, but he left with the perfect team.
“We had great kids this year,” he said. “They just wanted to win. They knew that Zach was the key piece, especially offensively. They had grown up with him. They’re used to it. They wanted to get him the ball when they needed to and let him do his thing.
“We got to the regional semis, and we’re one no-call away from going to regional finals. It was a great year for the kids.”
A player whose career was highlighted by individual honors always centralized his focus on the team.
“Every kid just wanted to win,” Zach said. “That was our goal. No matter what happened, we were just going to try and win. Whether I scored 40 or (teammate) Jake (Portolese) scored 30 or another kid stepped up and hit like eight 3s in a game, it was just however we were going to win, we were going to win. That was the main goal.”