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Rams lived up to big billing on way to state title

When the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team hit the court last Nov. 30 to begin the 2007-08 season, the usual amount of high expectations surrounded them. Given the talent it possessed, anything less than championship glory for the Red Rams would be seen as a letdown.

Three and a half months later, that glory was attained in Glens Falls, a third state title to go with those won by the Bernard Blunt-led crew of 1990 and the undefeated champs of 2004, culminating Sunday with a 78-54 victory over East Hampton.

Thus, J-D pulled off the toughest possible thing in sports -- living up to one's reputation, and doing so with a style and grace that left everyone marveling.

It helped, too, that the Rams came into this season quite hungry, a direct byproduct of what had taken place in the three years since that memorable 2004 run to the state and Federation titles.

Each of those seasons, J-D came in as heavy favorites in the Section III and state Class A ranks, even rising to the top of the state rankings. But it never could get out of the sectional playoffs, ousted by Mexico in 2005, Indian River in 2006 and New Hartford in 2007.

What happened in 2006-07 was particularly frustrating. All was going fine until the Rams' star sophomore guard, Brandon Triche, tore his right ACL during the CBA Holiday Classic. He missed the rest of the season and would need close to 15 months to get back to full speed.

However, Triche was ready to play (with a knee brace) when practice started in November. The best part was that, despite his immense talent, Triche didn't have to carry the full load.

J-D possessed a lethal combination of size, speed, experience and depth that made Triche just one strong part of a smooth-running basketball machine.

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