Rams open boys hoops season with high-scoring home win

The boys Ram varsity basketball team set a very high bar to meet both in points scored and entertainment value when it hosted the Ogden Bulldogs Monday for the opening game of the 2018-19 hoops campaign. The Rams scored 95 points, only the third time the Rams have scored more than 90 points in the last 10 years.* The game was a lot more offense than defense, as the Bulldogs scored 91 points.

The first quarter found the Rams playing in Foul City and the Bulldogs taking full advantage. The Bulldogs made 14 of 15 free throws, not missing until only three seconds were left in the quarter. The Bulldogs took the early lead, and although the Rams tied the score at 11 at the midpoint of the quarter, an abundance of Ram fouls the Bulldogs’ success at the line found the Bulldogs up 26-15 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a different story. The Bulldogs put up a pair of free throws to start the quarter and build their lead to 13 points, 28-15. The Rams were down 19-29 when senior Trey Hinote put up his first 3-pointer of the game. The Rams kept working, and between Carter Morton and Hinote they moved to within one point, 37-38. Junior Cael Fisher put up his first points of the game with a 3-point basket and the Rams were up 40-38 with two minutes to play. The score was 42-39 when junior John Rosado, playing his first sanctioned game since arriving in Jefferson from Puerto Rico, scored a 3-point basket to give the Rams a six-point lead, 45-39, with one minute to play in the half. He scored two more points just before the buzzer sounded and the Rams held a 47-42 lead at intermission.

The third quarter picked up where the first half ended. The Bulldogs tied the score at 47 with 7:35 to play in the quarter. The score was tied at 52 with 6:00 on the clock and tied at 54 with 4:00 on the clock. The score was tied again at 59 with less than two minutes to play. The third quarter ended with the Bulldogs up 64-63.

The game stayed close the entire fourth quarter. Fisher tied the score with another 3-point shot early on and Hinote put up a pair of free throws to put the Rams ahead with 6:30 to play. The Rams led the rest of the game, but not by much. With 7 seconds left to play it was still only a three-point game, 94-91. Hughes made a pair of free throws to etch the final score, 96-91.

Ram fans had more than just a victory to cheer about. First, the Rams were in foul trouble almost from the start of the game, and by early the third quarter, four Rams had four fouls each. With 6:24 left to play in the game, there were still four Rams with four fouls, and for the game, no Ram fouled out.

Second, because of foul worries, coach Chris Nelson gave players on the bench a lot of playing time, and they didn’t disappoint. Caden Lowmiller came off the bench to score the Rams’ first points, a 3-pointer. Rosado played well under the basket and Fisher scored critical points. Skylar Ripperger was tasked with guarding the nearly unstoppable Ben Heeren, saving other Ram shooters from the high-foul spot. All are juniors playing their first varsity game and they each played a role in the win.

Trey Hinote led the Rams in scoring with 33 points, including four 3-point shots and 13 of 15 free throws. Senior Lance Hughes made 24 points with 2 long baskets. Junior Carter Morton scored 16, Fisher scored 11 points with three tres and a pair of free throws, Rosado scored five points with one three, junior Nick Breon scored four points and Lowmiller scored three.

Hinote and Hughes had five rebounds each.

Ogden’s Heeren scored 41 points for the game.

The Rams have a fast turn-around, traveling to Perry to take on the Blue Jays in a Mega Night. The varsity boys’ game will start at approximately 7:30 pm.

*The Rams scored more than 90 points in two other games over the past 10 seasons. During the 2014-15 season the Rams beat Collins-Maxwell-Baxter 93-88 in Jefferson. Early in the 2016-17 season the Rams topped CMB on the road, 94-47. Hinote and Hughes, the only seniors on this season’s team, were sophomores on that team.

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