Rams top Bulldogs in an intense rivalry game
Published 10:44 pm Friday, December 1, 2023
The Valley Rams hosted the LaFayette Bulldogs in an intense matchup at home on Friday night, and the Rams came away with a 76-47 win.
After a tightly contested first quarter, Valley dominated the remainder of the game on the defensive side. The Rams allowed just 20 points in the second half.
“Wanted to make a statement in the second half,” Valley coach Marshon Harper said. “Came out, played great defense, got some steals. We played good tonight.”
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The game got chippy early on with three technical fouls being called with 57 seconds left in the first quarter. LaFayette’s DeAundra Vines received a technical foul along with Valley’s Brandon Thomas. Zan Woody also received a technical foul for Valley and was ejected from the game.
The energy in the stadium was unlike any other basketball game in the state. Both student sections went back and forth throughout the game.
“It’s unbelievable,” Harper said. “The best student section, the best fans in the world right here. Every game the place is selling out.”
Three-point shooting was an issue for the Rams in the home opener against Bullock County, but the issue looked to be resolved on Friday. Valley connected on five of its 11 shot attempts from behind the arc.
Harper said that the team worked consistently on shooting the ball in practice leading up to the matchup, and the team shot with a lot more rythm on Friday.
Cam Dooley led the Rams with 21 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks and four assists. Brandon Thomas followed Dooley with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, three blocks, and two assists.
Jay Harper poured in 12 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Jayden Thomas added 11 points, and Ian Crim-Davis had a team-high seven assists to go along with eight points.
LaFayette has now dropped two straight games in blowout fashion. Shooting has been an issue in each of the last two games.
“Tuesday, we just came out flat,” LaFayette coach Chase Lewis said. “I think we’re going to play a lot better against Troup next time.”
At times, the Bulldogs pushed Valley and made it a competitive game. After the first quarter, the Rams led by single digits, but shooting and foul trouble limited what LaFayette could do on the offensive side.
“I think we let this opportunity get away,” Lewis said. “We didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities. I think we fought hard, but we’ve got to get back to practice and start fixing on assignments.”
LaFayette was led in the game by Branaviyun Story. Story finished with 14 points, six rebounds and one steal. Jayden Thomason followed Story with seven points and three rebounds. Vines finished with seven points, three rebounds and two steals. Vines fouled out with 7:19 left in the fourth quarter.
The win pushed Valley’s record to 3-0 on the season. The Rams have a quick turnaround as they face Troup on Saturday. The loss for LaFayette dropped the Bulldogs to 1-2 on the season. Up next for LaFayette is a home game against Troup on Dec. 5.
“Gotta go home, get a little rest right here,” Harper said. “We’re going to have a tough opponent tomorrow in Troup. I think they’re up for the task though.”
“This is technically a third game in a row that we haven’t made shots,” Lewis said. “We need to make shots.”