Rams take historic run to their first-ever District Finals

Andrew Eross, Sports Editor

Straight out of the gates of the season, the Spring-Ford Boys Basketball Team turned heads when embarking on their 20-game win streak to take the regular season Liberty Division title and clinch the No. 1 seed in the District 1 6A Tournament.

This year’s team is not satisfied with regular season accomplishments, however. Despite dropping their final regular season game to PV, the Rams revamped their torrid pace with a double-overtime win over Pottstown followed by a blowout victory against Upper Merion to reclaim a PAC trophy they had not won since 2016.

They didn’t stop there and now stand one win away from a district championship.

The top-seeded Rams will play No. 3 Plymouth Whitemarsh inside Temple University’s Liacouras Center on Saturday (March 4, 6 p.m.) in the program’s first-ever trip to the district final.

The Rams bested No. 5 Downingtown West in the semifinals Tuesday, 66-52, led by junior EJ Campbell’s game-high 27 points. P-W upset No. 2 Lower Merion, 64-58. The Rams will have to contain the tandem duo of Chase Coleman and Jaden Colzie, who combined for 36 in the semifinal win.

After a first-round tournament bye, the Rams took care of business by cruising to a 55-47 win over West Chester Henderson, a win that sent the team to Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association State Tournament for the first time since 2019. A few nights later, Spring-Ford steamrolled a Garnet Valley squad that bounced them out of the tournament last winter. Late in the second quarter, the Rams only led 20-19, but an 11-0 burst and a second-half offensive outbreak carried the Rams into the district semifinals with a 64-46 win.

While the Rams are built on a team-oriented offensive approach, the offense gives way for their two explosive guards to consistently lead the scoring approach. Sophomore Jacob Nguyen combined for 51 PAC Tournament points in Rams’ two games, including a 25 point, championship performance in which he only missed one shot. Campbell was the high man in the Henderson matchup, scoring 25 points, and added 17 behind Nguyen’s 22 in the Garnet Valley win.

Spring-Ford would then meet No. 5 Downingtown West in the semifinals for a chance to clinch the first District Championship appearance in program history. The Rams would of course do just that, where Campbell stole the show and a 66-52 win. Campbell was perfect from everywhere – 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, 5-for-5 in two-point range, and 8-for-8 at the stripe, good for a dominant, 27-point performance. Nguyen was cold early but heated up late for 16 points. The Rams overall dominated in turnovers forced, rebounds, and three-pointers made, to go along with an excellent 12-15 free throw percentage.

While Campbell and Nguyen may always lead in points scored, when crediting the team’s success, every rotation player deserves equal attention. Caleb Little is always the first guy on the ground for a loose ball, leads the team in steals, and facilitates to set up open looks. Zach Zollers and Tommy Kelly are each good for near double-digit rebounds per game, and Tyree Banks and Michael McKenna add three point offense along with great defense. Senior Alex Lewis adds just about everything.