Valley caps off first perfect regular season in program history with win over Callaway
Published 10:22 pm Saturday, February 4, 2023
Perfect. Undefeated. History.
It all came to fruition for the high flying rim-rattling Valley Rams on Saturday as they capped off a perfect 27-0 season with a 63-56 win over Callaway (GA) — the first undefeated season in program history.
“I told them we went undefeated in the first season, now we have to go undefeated in the second season,” Valley coach Marshon Harper said.
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It was a season full of dominant victories with 22 coming by double-digits, but there were also some challenges along the way. Both games against Callaway were back-and-forth and the Rams won by a combined 10 points across these two games and had to dig deep along the way.
“I’m glad we did this for coach Harper,” star player Cam Dooley said. “We had a couple games like tonight where we started out slow, but we fought back and won and that’s credit to coach.”
The first quarter was full of drama as momentum swung like a pendulum from one side of the court to the other as the teams attacked with a rapid pace that proved unsustainable for the full 32 minutes. The teams were tied at 17 after one despite each team owning a lead of at least four points in the opening eight minutes.
Callaway’s Tyrus Edwards and Valley’s Jamarious Martin dueled it out in the first quarter and scored eight points and six respectively in the opening quarter of play.
Martin was sensational all night and led the Rams in scoring with 18 points while also chipping in three rebounds, eight assists and two steals.
The teams continued to trade blows over the following quarter as the Rams were able to take a narrow two point lead into the break.
After going scoreless in the first quarter, Dooley came alive in the second with six points, but it was his play in the third quarter that gave the Rams some breathing room. Dooley scored as many points as the entire Cavaliers team in the third quarter — nine — by himself and threw down a thunderous dunk that got the entire gym off their seats. Dooley was everywhere for the Rams once again and earned another double-double for his efforts with 17 points and 10 rebounds while also adding three assists, two steals and a block.
Despite the big accomplishment of an undefeated season and a stellar individual campaign, Dooley is not satisfied yet.
“We have to keep getting better,” Dooley said. “We have to practice hard and keep listening to our coaches. We can’t have slow starts like this going forward.”
The Rams took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter and were able to keep just out of reach of the Cavaliers late rally attempt.
“We just got to get a couple of stops,” Harper said. “They got hot but I told them, they gave you their best punch. Hats off to the kids, they just believed and kept on fighting.”
Brandon Thomas was sensational once again for the Rams and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block despite taking a hard tumble to the court in the third quarter.
The usual trio was dominant with Ian Crim-Davis and Denali Dooley chipping in five points apiece for good measure.
Valley will put its impressive 27-0 record up to the test again on Feb. 9 against the winner of Beauregard and Tallasee.
Key player Jay Harper was injured the other night and missed Saturday’s game against Callaway. He is working his way back and Valley is happy with the progress he is making.
“He’s doing good, he’s making progress.He is going to be fine,” Harper said.