Rams soar in district basketball rankings

The boys team leads District One rankings at 18-1.

Andrew Eross, Sports Editor

With a 17th straight win in a matchup against Hazleton, the Spring-Ford Rams surpassed Lower Merion as the No. 1 seed in District 1 6A Tournament standings.

Last season, the Rams finished 13-9 without a PAC Final Six berth. As the eight seed in the District Tournament, the Rams were a first round exit.

In Head Coach Joe Dempsey’s second season, however, he has led the Rams rolling to an 18-1 record despite falling in their opener to West Chester East.

Spring-Ford’s success can be attributed to a team-oriented offense and a smothering defense, which holds opponents to just 41.6 points per game – by far the best in the PAC.

With their Tuesday win against OJR, the Rams improved to 8-0 in the conference, with a comfortable lead over second-place Methacton’s 5-2 league record. The Rams will soon face Methacton on the road on Jan. 31, following an away meeting against Boyertown. The Rams round out the season by hosting rival Perkiomen Valley and the conference leading scorer Julian Sadler on Feb. 2 before the Rams host the PAC Tournament.

The aforementioned elite defense has been a deciding factor in many close wins. In victories against Wilson, PV, and OJR, the Rams defense has kept high scoring offenses very quiet in the final minutes of games. Offensively, the guard pair of sophomore Jacob Nguyen and junior EJ Campbell consistently lead the Rams in scoring. Nguyen sits 10th in conference scoring, with close to 15 points per game and is followed by Campbell nearing 12 ppg.

Among other key contributors is sophomore Tommy Kelly, who scored a season-high 19 points in a close 53-48 away win over OJR. Seniors Alex Lewis, Caleb Little, Mike McKenna, and Zach Zollers each showcase efficient scoring displays as well and are always the team’s leaders in rebounds, assists, and turnovers forced.

McKenna and Zollers are always the first two Rams off the bench, with McKenna providing a spark from the three-point range and Zollers working inside. Zollers has had several double-digit outings, highlighted by a buzzer-beating put-back in the win against Wilson.

With a pair of guards that can score 20 points each on any given night and a very deep bench, the Rams are poised for a strong run in the PAC playoffs and the District Tournament. The Rams are currently focused on their final three regular season games as they strive towards an undefeated league record.