Published: January 4, 2014
From facing a late deficit to watching one of its top scorers suffer a gruesome injury, nothing much fazes the Rampart boys' basketball team these days.
Donovan Oldham led all scorers with 21 points, Tre Young added 20 before suffering a dislocated shoulder, and the Rams rallied from eight down in the second half to score a 71-65 win over Pueblo West on Saturday at the Rampart Rams New Year's Classic.
"From the experience we gained last year to the experience so far this season, we've learned to stay levelheaded, and they seem comfortable out there," Rams fourth-year coach Patrick Simpson said. "Once we got them out of their (2-3) zone, we had to be aggressive. Donovan has been tremendous all year, and his calm and poise helps us in those situations."
Rampart (8-1), off to its best start under Simpson, reeled off 13 straight points covering the last 1:55 of the third quarter and first 1:15 of the fourth to seize the lead for good.
Young, who had two baskets in the pivotal run, later added a three-point play and a scoop layup that pushed the lead to 56-48 with 5:36 left. But a short time later, the Rams senior's left shoulder popped out of its socket while battling for a rebound.
Young, taking on his team's calm demeanor, stood nearly still in the lane while Rams trainer Scott Riley put the shoulder back in place.
"It doesn't happen that often, but I'll be fine for my next game (on Monday)," Young said. "It wasn't a bummer to come out and not finish the game because I knew my teammates would pull it out. We just had to find the weakness in their zone."
Before Rampart dealt with that, Pueblo West fought through treacherous weather conditions that felled automobiles of all sizes, even closing parts of Interstate 25 earlier Saturday.
Fortunately, the Cyclones departed early enough to navigate the icy, snow-packed roads to safely arrive at Rampart with time to spare.
"It was terrible, seeing cars flipped over," Pueblo West junior point guard David Arrieta said. "We just missed getting in a 10-car pileup."
Arrieta and sophomore Kenny Tack led a fast start for the Cyclones, both scoring six points in the first quarter, as they raced out to a 20-12 lead.
While Arrieta found most of his 18 points after driving inside, his passing opened up the outside game. The Cyclones made 11 3-pointers, led by five from Billy Daugherty en route to an 18-point effort.
But gradually, the West lead shrunk to three by halftime and just 46-44 at the end of the third quarter. Then the Cyclones fell behind and couldn't recover.
"Our team is super young, and we hit a wall sometimes from our lack of experience," said Arrieta, whose team has only one senior. "As the season goes on, we'll be tough. We just have to get that experience."