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Rams upend Cowboys for conference title
Written by George Werner   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 13:54

Eighth-grader Justin Link had 14 points and was named to the all-tournament team as Clarkdale-Jerome School’s Mingus Rams scored a surprise repeat as Verde Valley Conference champions, defeating Camp Verde Middle School 34-31 Saturday, Feb. 1, at Beaver Creek School.

Ethan Brogdon, an eighth-grader at the Clarkdale Jerome School, left, goes up against Camp Verde Middle School’s Ryan Loza as fellow eighth-graders Bryce Cramer, second from left, and Cristian Sandoval, No. 21, look to get open in the first half of the Mingus Rams’  34-31 win over the Cowboys in the Verde Valley School Conference Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1. Cramer was named tournament Most  Valuable Player for the Rams, who will host the small school state championships beginning Thursday, Feb. 6.
Link made the second team, while fellow eighth-grade guard Bryce Cramer was named tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring more than half of his team’s points to upset Big Park Community School. The series of circumstances left head coach Rudy Sandoval shaking his head and speechless.

“It’s hard enough to win a championship, but back-to-back … I don’t know what to say,” he said. “I’m just shocked.”

The Mingus Rams [12-5] came back from an eight-point second-quarter deficit, sparked by eighth-grader Zeke Behlow’s layup just before halftime. CJS then used an 11-2 run in the third quarter to turn the tables and lead 26-23 in spite of Cramer missing eight free throws.

“He’s our main ball handler,” Sandoval said. “We don’t go without him.”


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