Junior Courtney Ramey stepped up to the free throw line, took a deep breath, set his feet and released the ball into the air.
After picking the pocket of Wolverines star Levi Stockard, Ramey was fouled with four seconds left and hit the second of two free throws to propel the Statesmen to a 60-59 win over fellow top-ranked foe Vashon.
“I just wanted to get my team a chance to win,” Ramey said. “I didn’t care if I made one out of two or both of them.”
Webster was down by as many as 17 early on, but Ramey responded with an and-one circus shot in the middle of the second quarter to spark the struggling Statesmen. Webster used a 7-0 run in the last 1:15 of the half to cut the lead to ten going into halftime.
Junior national recruit Carte’are Gordon had to sit for much of the rough first half after picking up a second foul on a technical early in the second quarter.
“We had great leadership,” interim head coach Scott Stallcup said. “Kevin (Butler) and Cam (Potts) were talking to everybody; we knew we had to stay composed. They are a great basketball team, they are well coached. We were just trying to weather the storm. We wanted to survive until the second half and try to make a run then.”
Webster wasn’t sure who would be at the helm for this premier game, with Jay Blossom trying to return to the sidelines after an eye surgery in January. He wasn’t cleared to coach, so it was Stallcup, undefeated in the role this season, guiding the Statesmen to the comeback victory.
Webster was led by 18 points from Ramey and 16 from senior Isaiah Ford.
Without Gordon early, Ford was a calming and consistent offensive force for the Statesmen, with four points in each quarter.
“Isaiah Ford is clutch, Isaiah Ford is a winner,” Stallcup said. “I’m so glad he is here, I don’t know where we would be without him.”
Ford said about the matchup, “It was way different. This was the number one team in the state, but we came out here and beat them. They know who the number one team in the state is: Webster. We knew it the whole time. We were ready for them and we were prepared.”
Gordon chipped in later with 13 points and put the clamps on the Wolverine’s star power forward Stockard, holding him to four points.
Gordon also shifted momentum after he reached up for a steal and galloped down the court past Stockard to convert an and-one opportunity to put Webster up by three in the middle of the fourth.
Now the Statesmen have knocked off the no.1 team in Iowa in Iowa City West, beaten the no.1 team in Illinois class 3A after beating Morgan Park, and beat the top team in Missouri class 4 in Vashon.
The Statesmen have won 14 straight to move to 20-2 and will play tomorrow at home against Pattonville for senior night and traditional Douglas night at 7 p.m in Roberts Gym.
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