By Ryan Wright
On Friday, Feb. 10, at Rend Lake College, the Vienna Rams took 2nd place at the SIJHSAA Class M Boys State Championship. The Rams made history becoming the only team to place at Vienna in state in 33 years.
The Rams played a phenomenal season . Head Coach for the Rams, Adam Hook stated “this is the best team I’ve ever had at Vienna Grade School.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 7 the Rams made the dream of playing in the state championship become reality as the Vienna Rams defeated a superior Joseph Arthur team with a score of 51-45 in the semifinals to advance to the state championship.
After coming off a strong win against Joseph Arthur, the Rams played against a competitive Fairfield team who also had made it to the championship on Friday, February 10. The game started with both teams coming out of the gate, first with Fairfield hitting a quick basket, then the Rams answering with a pick and roll led by Lane Ross and Brendan Dahncke to tie things up 2-2. Josh Cherry opens things up with 4:14 left remaining in the first by scoring and giving the Rams a 6-4 lead. Brendan Dahncke takes advantage of a Fairfield turnover and capitalizes driving to the basket and getting a reverse layup to fall to make it 8-4. Fairfield then connects on a three point shot to trim the lead, 8-7. The Rams finish the first quarter with a score of 10-9.
The second quarter begins and after a Fairfield three, Skylar Blankenship for the Rams scores off the glass to tie the game up 12-12 with 4:36 left. Fairfield being hot from behind the arc continued to hit three pointers to give Fairfield a 19-13 lead. Lane Ross ended the drought for the Rams scoring a perimeter jump shot to trail Fairfield 15-19 with 1:47 left. Gordy Muckle then hit a must needed shot for the Rams with 53 seconds left, to trail Fairfield just by two points, 17-19. Fairfield being a strong and productive team went on a 6-0 run to end the second half with the lead, 25-17.
The third quarter fired up and the Rams meant business as Brendan Dahncke scored and got the foul converting on a three point play to bring the score at 20-25. Micah Harris gets in on the action as he put up two points for the Rams to make it a three point ball game 22-25. Fairfield scored consecutive baskets and were able to end the third quarter with the lead 34-25.
The fourth quarter started underway as the Rams knew they had limited time to play with and needed to get things going as soon as possible. The Rams trying all they could intentionally fouled Fairfield to stop the clock and put them at the line to try and make their comeback. But, Fairfield was too much as they were able to answer hitting almost any shot, free throw, and playing intense lockdown defense ending the game with a score of 35-52. The Fairfield Colts ended their season with a record of 28-0.
The Rams leave the season on a high note though as they still took 2nd place in a very tough tournament filled with incredible teams and competition. Scorers for the Rams included, Brendan Dahncke with 13 points, Josh Cherry with 8 points, Lane Ross with 5 points, Mason Kerley with 3 points, Gordy Muckle, Micah Harris, and Skylar Blankenship all chipped in 2 points each. The Vienna Grade School boys basketball team was coached by Head Coach Adam Hook and Assistant Coach Michael Vinson.
The players who all contributed to the extraordinary 2016-2017 season included- Brendan Dahncke, Eli Wright, Josh Cherry, Mason Kerley, Gordy Muckle, Lane Ross, Clay Fraser, Skylar Blankenship, Dawson Hill, Thomas Craig, Micah Harris, Dalton Nesler and Kyle Harris.