Valley wins first area championship since 2014

Published 11:26 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023

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Valley closed out the area tournament in style by cruising to a 75-48 win over Tallassee to claim its first area championship since 2014.

“It feels so good to get that monkey off our back,” Valley coach Marshon Harper said.

Area Champs, wow. We are going to celebrate this. It’s a new season and we are 1-0.”

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It was a mismatch from the opening tip as the Rams rolled over Tallassee for the third time this season.

Cam Dooley — who was named area 7-5A tournament MVP for his efforts looked every bit of the star he is on Thursday night, finished with a game-high 22 points. He put on a show in the first quarter, scoring 13 points. He got everything to go, hitting two 3-pointers, hitting three free throws and throwing down a thunderous dunk. It was Cam’s world and the Tigers were caught in his orbit as he stuffed the statsheet with eight rebounds four assists two steals and three blocks.

The Rams were off and running early and built a 33-10 lead after the first quarter. The Tigers had no way back as the Rams controlled the rest of the game.

The Rams defense completely controlled the game, allowing for easy dunks and layups in transition. In fact, the Tigers only had four players in the scoring column as the Rams completely limited what the Tigers could do outside of a couple of key players.

Cam was not alone in his efforts. Denali Dooley was named to the all-area tournament alongside his brother and finished the game with 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Brandon Thomas offered a controlling presence downlow and finished with 13 points as well while also grabbing eight boards and dishing out four assists. 

Jamarious Martin was sensational leading the offense. While he only finished with 10 points, he was the lynchpin for the Rams offense and kept the ball flowing all night, earning a double-double with 10 assists while adding three rebounds and two steals. Martin was the third Ram named to the all-area team.

“We have six seniors and we have six papers on the board,” Harper said. “We have area champions as one of the papers on the board so we are going to go in there and tear it off. Then, we got five more to go. Each senior gets to tear one off. Jamarious is number zero so he will be the last one to rip one off. I told him to get to you and win the championship means you have to work the hardest.”

Valley is an unprecedented 28-0 but Harper wants his guys to clear their heads and focus on what comes next.

From here on out, a loss will send the Rams packing.

“We try to keep these guys motivated and humble,” Harper said. “Right now we are 1-0 and that’s what matters. We are practicing tomorrow. We are going to watch this game and break it down tomorrow. We aren’t taking it easy.”

The Rams will be entering the sub-regional as a one seed and will host Sylacauga on Tuesday.

Home court will be a huge factor for the Rams as it has been all season.

“We have had a packed house every game. We are selling out tickets to every game,” Harper said.”If we had a bigger gym, we’d have even more people in here. It’s an unbelievable crowd, an unbelievable atmosphere and I’m so proud for the fans and the school.”