Ross High School coach David Lane remembers the days when the Ross High gym was packed for rivalry games.
Friday night, the first-year coach introduced his team to the atmosphere he hopes will become a mainstay,
Riding the momentum of a standing-room only home crowd, the Rams had a huge second half to complete a sweep over Butler County rival Edgewood 59-47.
“The Herd was a tremendous asset for us,” Lane said of the Ross student section. “That atmosphere was unbelievable.. These kids have worked hard and they have earned the right to play in front of a home crowd like that. That is the way Ross games used to be every night. They are the sixth man and our guys fed off that energy tonight, especially in the second half”
Trailing 20-11 at half, the Rams hit a red hot 17 of 21 from the field in the second half, outscoring the Cougars 48-27 to win their fifth straight game.
Ross, 9-5, 6-2 in the Southwestern Ohio Conference, trailed by 25 points in the first meeting with the Cougars and came back to win.
Held to two points at half, SWOC leading scorer Landen Angel caught fire, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Dylan Zimmerman had 12 points and Ben Yeager chipped in 13.
A junior guard, Zimmerman said Coach Lane had some motivational words at halftime.
“Coach really got into us at halftime,” Zimmerman said “We all had to step it up. Me and (Yeager) talked about stepping up. We started off real slow but we played like a team in the second half. “
Much like the first game in Trenton, the Cougars controlled the first half but coach John Thomas saw a promising start fall apart with turnovers and defensive lapses.
The Cougars got 14 points from Austin Scott but couldn’t hold a 12-point, third-quarter lead in falling to 7-9, 4-5 SWOC.
“Just a tale of two halves,” Thomas said. “When we want to be we are the team that held them to 11 points in the first half. But we lost focus, they picked up their energy and we got in a hurry on both ends. They picked up their energy, which we expected, but we lost focus and didn’t handle it.”
In the first half Edgewood held the Rams to 3 of 15 shooting while building a 20-11 halftime lead. After Trent Allen opened the second half with a three to put the Cougars up 12 it was all Ross.
Ross used a 11-0 run to cut the lead to one and the Rams utilized 11 points from Angel, including a three that sent the crowd into a frenzy, at the third quarter buzzer to tie the game at 35.
The Rams slowly pulled away in the final stanza, building a 42-37 that Ross kept extending. Zimmerman had six fourth quarter points and Yeager added a big three pointer for Ross in the fourth. The Rams hit eight of 12 from the charity stripe to stave off any Edgewood comeback.
“The crowd was so loud,” Zimmerman said. ” We loved it. Our crowd was great, better than I have ever seen it since I have been here. We don’t’ want to stop. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. I loved beating them with our crowd like that.”