Championship Culture: Valley previews season at media day
Published 7:18 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023
The Valley Rams took the stand at media day to preview the upcoming season for the boys and girls basketball teams.
Eberne Myrthil took the stand for the first time on Wednesday as the new coach for the Lady Rams. Myrthil has the tall task of replacing former coach George Grimes. Grimes was one of the longest-tenured coaches at Valley High School.
“Anytime coming into a new season, regardless of who the coach is, it’s hard to follow,” Myrthil said. “Especially a coach that has been there for a while. This is going to be a project for us. I’m stepping into a place where basketball has a lot of positive tradition.”
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The boys coach, Marshon Harper, has a tall task of his own this season. The Rams are coming off a season where they went 33-0 and won the 5A state championship.
Harper and the leaders on the team have the responsibility of maintaining, and possibly even topping, that standard set last season.
“I think we maintain it by working hard,” Harper said. “We just go get better every day. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize. They think we’re not going to work. We’re still going to outwork them.”
The Rams return a lot of their key talent. Brandon Thomas, Cam Dooley and Jay Harper return as some of the top leaders on the team.
However, the team is also replacing an elite senior class. Ian Crim-Davis is being asked to step up as a starter and take over at point guard, the role Jamarious Martin locked down last season. Jayden Thomas is also stepping into a starting role this season.
“We’re going to miss our senior class from last year, but I think we’ve got a couple of people that are going to step up,” Harper said. “Ian Crim, I mean he could’ve been a starter for any team in the state of Alabama. Jayden Thomas, that’s going to be another senior that could’ve started for anybody in the state of Alabama.”
Galvin Goss and Zan Woody are two juniors who are going to play a lot of minutes this season for the Rams as well.
The standard has been set for the boys program, but Myrthil is still working on setting his own culture for the Lady Rams.
“We had to really change a lot of different things,” Myrthil said. “We have this thing that we say, I, me, mine and mines are things that do not shine, but we, us, ours, together are things that last forever. That’s what we’re trying to build at Valley.”
Harper and the Rams undoubtedly have never had as much trouble making a schedule as they have this season. After having such a dominant season, several teams did not want to face Valley this season.
The teams that did decide to include the Rams on the schedule will give it their best shot. Each player and coach on the team knows that there is a glaring red target on their backs going into each matchup.
“I feel like there’s a target on our back,” Jay Harper said. “Every game we play, everybody wants to beat us.”
“I like the challenge, but overall they’re not going to beat us,” Cam Dooley said. “A lot of teams think they can play with us, but I feel like they can’t,” Brandon Thomas said.
Valley has another challenge going into the season as the football team faces B.C. Rain this Friday in the playoffs. The majority of the basketball team is also a key part of the football team.
The playoff run that Valley is working on has affected the basketball schedule tremendously, but the Rams would not have it any other way.
“I’ve got nine basketball players playing football,” Harper said. “It’s nothing new. If we advance to the next round, we’re going to continue to play football. We want to win the state title in football. We want to do something that’s never been done at Valley High School.”