Boys Junior Varsity Basketball, Boys Varsity Basketball · Ramsay 39, Parker 29: Rams eliminate reigning 5A state champs in Northwest Regional title game

There will be a new Class 5A boys state champion this season.

No. 5 Ramsay won a defensive slugfest 39-29 over reigning champ and eighth-ranked Parker in a rematch of last year’s title game tonight in the Northwest Regional final at Wallace State-Hanceville.

Rmasay (29-5) lead 15-11 at the break as the tams combined to shoot just 20.5 percent (8 of 39). But the Rams got better looks in the second half and led by as much as nine, and Justin Wiley‘s layup off a steal turned back Parker after the Thundering Heard pulled within five (32-27) with 3:33 left in the game.

“It was frustrating in the beginning,” said Ramsay’s Jonathan Ethridge, who scored 10 points. “But as the game went on they started pressing and we started getting easy baskets.”

Ramsay coach Kelly Cheatham was comfortable with the physical nature of the game.

“We knew that was the kind of game it was going to be; we prepared for that,” he said. “I’m just proud of the guys for standing up and no allowing (Parker) to push them around.”

Parker finished the season 22-9.

— Star of the game: Ramsay’s A.J. Luke was tabbed tournament MVP after recording 10 points and 10 rebounds.

— By The Numbers: 12/9 – The teams combined to hit nearly as many 3-pointers (9) as old-school 2-pointers (12);  9 – Points by Parker’s Joshua Chairs, all on 3-pointers, that led the team; 6:28 — Length of a stretch in the fourth quarter that Parker went without a field goal after pulling within three (29-26) with 7:30 remaining.

— Quotable: “We felt like if we could match their physicality that we’d have a good chance at winning. Also, we know that they do a lot of pressing. I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t do any in the first half, but they came with the press and got a few turnovers in the second half. We felt those were two keys.” — Cheatham

“It’s a good feeling. I want to give God thanks, first of all,” — Ethridge

“Both teams tried to figure each other out. We’ve been around each other the last two or three years. They made one or two shots that we thought they wouldn’t make. And at first we missed a couple that we should have made.” — Parker coach Reginald McGary