Rams take first place in Holiday Tournament

By Kristian Russell - krussell@elkintribune.com
The Starmount Rams take home first place in the 2017 Cook’s Holiday Classic Tournament. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune

BOONVILLE — The 2017 Cook’s Holiday Classic Tournament came to a close on Friday night, and the Starmount Rams took home the Championship plaque. The Rams battled East Surry in a four-quarter barn burner that saw Starmount take a 48-46 win over the Cardinals.

In the first two quarters, East Surry had the upper hand over the Rams. Jefferson Boaz opened up the first quarter by making the first two baskets to give East Surry a 4-0 lead. Griffin Cass was able to cut the Cardinals’ lead in half as he was fouled and made both of his free throw shots. The 4-2 lead was turned into a 7-2 lead as Boaz made his third basket of the night, this time from beyond the arch. The Cardinals extended their lead 9-2 after John Marion beat Charlie Smythers down low for a lay up.

Starmount was able to cut East Surry’s lead to one point as Cass made two two-point shots, and Ethan Barnes put up a shot of his own. With a 9-8 lead, East Surry’s Caleb Hearn knocked in a three-point shot to open up another scoring drive for the Cardinals. Boaz used his size to his advantage as he put in two two-point baskets to give East Surry a 16-8 lead. Cass kept the Rams in the game as he put in another shot for Starmount for a 16-10 game. The first quarter came to a close with Trey Dezern putting in two baskets for the Rams and Marion knocking in a shot for East Surry. The Cardinals were hanging on to an 18-14 lead over Starmount at the end of the first.

Things slowed down for both teams in the second quarter as East Surry put up six points, and the Rams put up nine. Eric Wiles started off the quarter by putting the Rams within two points of the Cardinals. Quincy Smith was able to take East Surry’s lead back to four points with a shot of his own, but the lead didn’t last long. Starmount put up a shot which brought the Rams within one point. Brendon Eads came into the game for the Rams, and put in a three-point shot from behind the arch for a 20-19 game. Starmount was able to tie the game 20-20 when Cass put up a free-throw and things started to get interesting.

Both teams started to rely heavily on defense for the final three minutes of the second quarter. Starmount was able to put up two baskets as Wiles put in a two-point shot and Dezern made a free throw. East Surry tied the game 23-23 as Smith put in a three-pointer, then the Cardinals took a one-point lead as Smith made a free throw. At halftime, East Surry had a 24-23 lead over Starmount.

The final two quarters saw the game heat up for both teams. East Surry and Starmount both scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Cardinals held on to a 35-34 lead. In the fourth quarter, the afterburners were turned as the Rams and Cardinals put on a show.

Boaz put up a two-pointer for a 37-35 lead, then Starmount answered back as Eads put up a lay-up to tie the game 37-37. Starmount was able to go on a scoring run for the next few plays as Dezern knocked in two shots and a free throw, and Eads put in a shot. Starmount had its first substantial lead of the night with a 44-37 scoreline.

As time was winding down, it looked like Starmount would be able to play the game out, but East Surry had a different idea. The Cardinals battled back to tie the game with 33.2 seconds left in the game. Hearn set up on the outside arch and knocked in a three-pointer to tie the game 46-46.

The game started to go back and forth with steals by both teams that stalled before a basket was made. With 2.7 seconds left, Starmount had the ball and drove down the court. Cass went up for a shot and was fouled by the Cardinals, which sent him to the free-throw line. Cass was calm under pressure and made both of his shots to put Starmount ahead 48-46.

Time ran out for the Cardinals, and the Rams were able to take the win and the championship.

Starmount stats:

G.Cass – 15 points and 10 rebounds

T. Dezern – 11 points and 4 rebounds

B. Eads – 8 points and 2 rebounds

E. Barnes – 5 points and 4 rebounds

C. Smythers – 5 points and 8 rebounds

E. Wiles – 4 points and 2 rebounds

East Surry stats:

Boaz – 18 points and 12 rebounds

Hearn – 12 points and 4 rebounds

Smith – 6 points and 2 rebounds

Marion – 6 points and 9 rebounds

Mosley – 4 points and 1 rebound

Gosnell – 4 rebounds

The Starmount Rams take home first place in the 2017 Cook’s Holiday Classic Tournament.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_DSC_0684-copy20181212238259.jpgThe Starmount Rams take home first place in the 2017 Cook’s Holiday Classic Tournament. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

By Kristian Russell