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ST. ELMO – It took overtime, but on Saturday the Ramsey boys basketball team bettered last season’s win total with a victory against Mulberry Grove in the seventh-place game of the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament.
Twice during the game, the Rams trailed by at least seven points, and the team overcame 23 turnovers and a dismal performance at the free-throw line (14-of-39 for 36 percent) to earn their third win of the season, with a 58-53 victory.
“It was heart,” said coach Bill Eddy. “We’ve gotten a reputation for not giving up, and there were times tonight where everything was going wrong, but we stayed with it and did enough to win.”
Included was the entire first half.
While a running score made it appear that Ramsey and Mulberry Grove had played even basketball throughout the first quarter, after which the Aces led 13-10, Mulberry Grove was actually aided significantly by Ramsey turnovers.
The Rams (3-8) turned over the ball seven times in the period, and the Aces turned those miscues into 11 points – including three 3-pointers.
That continued into the second quarter, as the Aces took an eight-point lead with a 7-0 run that lasted two minutes. Four of those points were scored off of turnovers.
Those, however, would be the last points of the half for Mulberry Grove (2-9), as the Rams closed out the second period on a 5-0 run of their own to keep the score, 20-17, managable at halftime.
“I told them that if we tie the score up, it’ll be hard on them,” Eddy said. “When they did, they saw they had a shot.”
The first tie didn’t come until there was 3:24 left in regulation when sophomore Tylor Knisley – who had a game-high 19 points – made a 3-pointer to knot the score at 44.
Junior Tyler Pryor then made a pair of free throws 31 seconds later, but the Aces got a jumper from sophomore Christian Dawson and two free throws from sophomore Nate Ketchem over the next 45 seconds to retake the lead.
Ramsey senior Jacob Roberts tied the game at 48 with a layup with 1:39 left in regulation, which would be the final points until overtime started.
In the final three minutes of regulation and in overtime, the 6-foot Roberts had an astounding 10 rebounds and scored four points.
“This is by far the best game he has ever played,” Eddy said. “He has taken on a role where he can be our big man and our ball handler.”
For the game, Roberts had 15 rebounds and eight points.
It was also Roberts who gave the Rams their final lead, scoring a layup with 2:59 left in overtime to put Ramsey ahead, 51-49.
Sophomore Ryan Kelly would hit a 3-pointer about a minute later, and Pryor would make a free throw 20 seconds after that to build a six-point lead.
“These guys are showing that it’s starting to come together,” Eddy said. “We’ve only got three wins, but we’ve got to keep building. There’s plenty of games left that we can win.”
In the overtime period, the Aces were without starters Jacob Rickman and Kevin Boulier, who both fouled out toward the end of the fourth quarter, and John Rickman fouled out with 1:19 left in the extra period.
Ramsey’s starting center, Colton Hunt, missed most of the second half after suffering an ankle injury while fighting for a rebound about two minutes into the third quarter. Eddy said he didn’t believe Hunt’s injury was serious, though Hunt did miss the team's next game.
Saturday, Dec. 17
Ramsey vs. Mulberry Grove
at St. Elmo Tourney
Ramsey 58 (OT)
Mulberry Grove 53
Points: Knisley, 19; Kelly, 10; Roberts, 10; Pryor, 9; Austin Cunningham, 5; Jacob Bergin, 2; Hunt, 2; Tristan Wesselman, 1.
Rebounds: Roberts, 15; Knisley, 10; Hunt, 7; Team, 7; Cunningham, 3; Kelly, 2; Pryor, 2.
Steals: Kelly, 3; Knisley, 2; Roberts, 2; Bergin, 1; Cunningham, 1; Hunt, 1; Pryor, 1.
Points: Devonta Williamson, 16; Dawson, 15; Ketchem, 11; Jo. Rickman, 6; Boulier, 2; Ja. Rickman, 2; Jordan Miller, 1.
Rebounds: Williamson, 7; Ketchem, 6; Ja. Rickman, 5; Jo. Rickman, 5; Dawson, 4; Team, 4; Boulier, 3; Miller, 1; Dead-ball, 1.
Steals: Williamson, 6; Ja. Rickman, 3; Boulier, 2; Dawson, 1; Miller, 1.