Thursday, March 23, 2017

Overlooked Rams feel like time is now; Alter wins 3rd straight;

The Trotwood Madison boys hoop team have a chip on their shoulder, and that chip has been there all season.

The best Starting Five in Ohio?
(L-R) Foster, Patton, Stephens, Davis, Belyeu 

    Feeling  a little bit overlooked when it comes to who's the best in Ohio, the Rams will now have their shot to show that they are one of the top dogs in Ohio, and possibly the Midwest as they take on LeBron James former school in Akron St Vincent St Marys at the Schottenstein Center at Ohio State today in the OHSAA Semifinals (2pm).

  Before the season, people felt the Rams were good, but the  "How good were they?" question loomed all year. We're they "State bound?" or "just good?" as people like to compare and debate. Is Dunbar or Wayne better?  Do they have the right coaching staff? Along with other key questions.

 They had lost in the Regionals to Cincinnati Taft last season, and had shown a little too much youthfulness and inexperience in that game.

 What would happen this year?

Well they went 24-2, finished atop the GWOC, 2nd in the D-2 State poll and had one of the most successful seasons in Ram history.

The only teams they lost to was a Nationally Ranked Prolific Prep squad, led by All-American Gary Trent Jr, and Sidney, who boasts one of the best Sophomores in the country in Andre Gordon.

Other than that?

 They have flattened just about every opponent, save a few.
 While they dropped video game numbers early in the OHSAA tourney, averaging 100+ through the first 4 games, the Regionals is where we would see what the Rams were made truly made of.

 The Regional Semifinal vs Cincinnati Taft was a huge game mentally for the Rams, in which Taft ended their season last year and looked like they might do it again.

The Rams missed FTs, shot poorly, and looked like a team who could be upset.
Taft imposed their will, with their huge defensive presence, played their tempo, mixed defenses and flustered Trotwoods' juggernaut of a offense.

 But this time, the more experienced Rams persevered, the coaching staff made some great moves and the Rams would hold off the feisty Taft squad to win, exorcising their demons in the process.

Then came the heralded rematch with Dunbar.

Dunbar proved to be no match as the State Ranked Wolverines scored first, only to be bombarded with a 17-0 run by the Rams to seal the deal as Trotwood rolled by 30.

Now the Rams will face another opponent it has seen this season, as  legendary Coach Dru Joyce and his powerhouse program St. Vincent St. Marys team will face off.

These two played in the Flyin' To The Hoop, and Trotwood punished Joyce and St Vincent, dropping almost a 40 spot on the heralded program and forcing Joyce to admit that hoops is better right now in Southwest Ohio than up Northeast.

Joyce knows that his team is far different than what happened in Trotwood in Flyin' to the Hoop.

 But Joyce also knows that these Rams are unlike any he has seen this season.

Will be interesting to see what type of game plan Joyce will use in trying to stop the Rams.

 With arsenal everywhere, let's take a look at the Rams key players:

Foster goes up on Taft bigs 

Starters -
 Torrey Patton, Sr. G
Patton has had the season few High School players can dream of. A true leader, the leading scorer and dime dropper for the Rams. A combo guard who directs the highest scoring offense in the OHSAA tournament. 1st Team All-State and 2-Time Player of the Year. Can get you 20, 5 and 5 on a bad day. A stat sheet stuffer, who can do it all. A quiet assassin, who will become a star in college. Great size (6'4), with the inate ability to get where he wants on the court. Should be a showcase for Patton this weekend.
Prospect: Major D-1

Amir Foster, Sr. G
Foster is a stick of dynamite who can explode at any time to change the game. One of the best 1 on 1 defenders in the country.  Can shoot from NBA range, and will dunk on the biggest of them. A Combo Guard, who does all the little things to win. Was the MVP of the Regional Final game vs Dunbar, when he led the team with 24 points. Very composed, does not make bad decisions. A true team player and the most athletic player of the team. Always ready for clutch moments, and comes from great lineage.
Nice D-1 Combo Guard size (6'3) and toughness, as he played on the State final Football team as well.
Prospects:  D-1

Amari Davis, Soph, G -F
 Davis is the player you watch and say, "This guy could be tbe one...."
Davis has one of the top 10 mid range games in the country for his class. His ability to get to the basket, is only rivaled by his ability to score from 18 feet out. A true competitor, has game changing, ESPN ability.
A lefty, has a smooth J, and once he gets into a groove, watch out. The hottest prospect on the Rams squad, Davis has a world of potential. Hard to guard,  doesn't force plays, and can run the point, Davis could be the shining star once it plays out in Columbus. When he gets a breakaway, it's lights, camera, action!
Prospects: Major D-1

Myles Belyeu, Jr , G-F
 Belyeu improved his stock more than anyone on the team this season. With a made-for-football type body, Belyeu worked on his overall game and it has shown immensely as his mid-range, his 3-ball, and his ability to drive went up a notch.
Not to mention his stifling defense, which could be the best in Ohio. Built in the D Wade shooting guard  mold, Belyeu is the engine that gets the Rams going.
His performance in Flyin to the Hoop, along with in other key games has shown he can take it to the top level, and out the Rams on his back if need be. Since he has done it a few times this season. Can play 3 positions. Nice shooting guard size (6'3, 210) with crazy athleticism.
Prospects: Mid Major D-1

 Justin Stephens - Soph, C
 Stephens is the anchor in the middle who holds down the fort while the Rams run and play the aggressive D they like to play.  Stephens has been a huge force defensively and will have to be on top of his game in order for the Rams to cut down the nets. Knows his role, and will take on anyone coming down the paint or posting up. Has good footwork, and is averaging 2 blocked Shots a game in the tournament.  Standing at 6'7 & 240, once Stephens becomes a more focal point of the offense, watch out. But overall, he's had a great season, and has not fouled out of half as many games as last season. The real x-factor to the Rams title chances.
Prospects: D-1

Key subs: Sammy Anderson, Carl Blanton

Blanton & Anderson have provided enough juice off the bench to help the Rams get to this point. Head coach "Rocky" as he is affectionately known, and his  The coaching staff has done a great job of getting his young players more quality munutes, and it payed off in the Taft game when Fab Frosh Blanton, Anderson, and the bench helped secure the win with some key plays and buckets.

Coaching Staff:
Rocky Rockholdt and his staff have done a 2nd to none job this season in handling everything that has come their way. Can they keep it up on the big stage? There is no reason to think they wont.
A great job from start to now.

Bottom Line:
The Rams have some things in their favor heading into State Semifinals; Will they take advantage of the rare opportunity & reach the OHSAA State Final? (Saturday @ 1045).

Maybe a LeBron sighting?
Joyce and St Vincent might need the inspiration.

Alter girls make history, win 3rd in a row led by Braxtin Miller

Led by Superstar Guard Braxtin Miller, the Alter Knights won their 3rd consecutive OHSAA Championship last weekend.

Miller was undoubtedly the catalyst, dropping 23 in the contest as the Knights went back to back to back like very few have done in OHSAA history.

 Miller, a do-it-all PG, will take her talents to Oklahoma State next season.
Ohio State had initially recruited her, but after a series of events, the Buckeyes fell back.

Bad move.

 Miller, will look to go into Oklahoma State as the Starting point guard and could be destined for greatness.

Miller, afterwards, didn't really seemed all that amazed about what she had done, not fully grasping the magnitude of what just happened.
Seemingly more relaxed and content than excited, now she can focus on what her next mission is.
To take the Cowboys back to the NCAA Final Four.
Don't be surprised to see if happen.
 Next year.
We just witnessed one of the most humble greats of Ohio All-Time hoops.

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