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Rams put together strong showing

NORTH JACKSON — The Mineral Ridge Rams (4-16) put together their best performance of the season, and spoiled senior night for Jackson-Milton with a 86-60 victory Friday night.

The Rams came out on fire, by dropping 23 points in the first quarter, and never took their foot off the pedal.

“We only have one senior,” Jackson-Milton coach Steve Procopio said. “Logan Sokol is a great kid. All year long, he’s been the guy that brings the energy every night. He just plays hard. You know he’s going to give you 32 tough minutes. I feel bad for him that we couldn’t win one for him on his senior night.

“Credit to Mineral Ridge. They shot the ball extremely well. They like to get out and run. I bet they had 40 points off of fast-break opportunities.”

Senior Zach James hustled up and down the court for the Rams. He dove to the floor after a loose ball and held his hand up in a shooter’s pose after drilling one from downtown.

James missed a couple of games at the beginning of the season after rolling his ankle. He’s at full strength now and he led all scorers with 27 points while Mineral Ridge held a 46-31 halftime advantage.

“It was a great team effort,” James said. “Ultimately, we’ve had a rough season. Nobody really sees us as a threat. But, we come to work everyday. We work our butts off. We deserve this. It was a great win for us.”

Nate Rohrman cleaned things up to get the second half started. He powered the ball in, while getting fouled, and completed an and-one. Elias Clark scored in the lane, and some fancy dribbling by Payton Zupko (23 points) helped him get to the hoop repeatedly.

“I just want to thank my teammates for bringing out the effort, and intensity, from the start,” Zupko said. “We started off slow this year, but we’re getting better and better as we head to the playoffs.”

The Blue Jays (8-12) had three players score in double-digits. Ryen Romigh had 11 points. Aiden Stanke scored 15, and Aaren Romigh finished with a team-high 25 points after swishing multiple 3-pointers.

“Aaren is a good shooter,” Procopio said. ” He’s a great player. We have a bunch of great players. We just didn’t play well tonight.”

The Rams took a 67-43 lead to the fourth quarter. James scored off of a well designed inbound play, and connected on five 3-pointers in the contest.

Ian Erb (12 points) had a steal, and a lay-up, and made one from behind the arc. Trey Rigley (10 points) finished underneath the rim, after getting out ahead of the defense.

The Mineral Ridge fans cheered in celebration as the Rams rolled to a Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference Scarlet Tier triumph over their rival.

“This was absolutely the most complete game we’ve played all season,” Mineral Ridge coach Gary Pugh said. “The kids have been working really hard. It’s a process though. The kids are so young, and inexperienced, that it’s taken this long to get things together. But, here we are.”

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