Undefeated Rams dominate Sylacauga to advance to 5A Round of 16

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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The Valley Rams will continue their mission of a perfect season after beating Sylacauga 77-40 on Tuesday to advance to the regional round in Birmingham.

Valley head coach Marshon Harper is thrilled with how his team played.

“It feels great,” Harper said.

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“We fell a little short last year. This year we’re on to the sweet 16. All the guys did a great job. We’re one step closer.”

The Rams got off to a quick start offensively as Valley scored 31 first quarter points thanks to 14 points from Denali Dooley and 10 from Cam Dooley.

The Rams’ defense held the Aggies to only 15 first quarter points, and Valley’s trend of crashing the boards on defense continued.

The Rams outscored Sylacauga 19-14 in the second quarter, and Denali Dooley added on six more points to give the Rams a 50-29 lead at halftime.

Valley put the dagger in the heart of the Aggies in the third quarter as the Rams opened up with an 11-3 run with baskets from Brandon Thomas, Jay Harper and Jamarious Martin.

Valley held Sylacauga to only five points in the third quarter, and Cam Dooley had a massive putback dunk to give Valley a 66-34 lead at the end of the quarter.

Valley once again killed the Aggies in the transition game in the fourth quarter, and Brandon Thomas had a huge dunk to get the crowd going and give the Rams a 71-34 lead.

Valley was able to put its bench in for the rest of the game, and the crowd erupted as the clock hit zero and the Rams ended what could be their final home game as a school with a blowout win.

Harper was thrilled with his team’s defense.

“Our defense was on today,” Harper said.

“They played hard. They were focused from the beginning. I’m the one who’s nervous. They’re not nervous. They’re just kids who are having fun. Hats off to them.”

It was a complete team effort for the Rams as Martin, Denali Dooley, Cam Dooley and Ian Crim-Davis all had more than 10 points.

“The first group played defense and team ball,” Harper said.

“They shot well. They rebounded well. Hats off to Sylacauga, but go Rams.”

This may be the last home game for Valley High, and Harper was pleased to end it the way they did.

“It feels great,” Harper said.

“I’ve been thinking about it, and we’ve been playing well on the road. We’re going to bring our fans to the sweet 16. It’s anybody’s ball game. We’re going to give them a day off. They deserve it. We’re going to go back and work.”

The Rams will play Demopolis on Monday in Birmingham.