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Monday, September 15, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 2/16/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

Three-peat for Rams

Rogers rips Start to win City League crown

DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Rogers coach Lamar Smith high-fives Keasja Peace near the end of Saturday’s City League championship game against Start. The Rams improved to 18-4. Rogers coach Lamar Smith high-fives Keasja Peace near the end of Saturday’s City League championship game against Start. The Rams improved to 18-4.
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Tori Easley, left, Sasha Dailey, Jasmyne Smith, Rogers coach Lamar Smith, and Keyanna Austin celebrate their victory overs Start to win the City League girls basketball championship Saturday at Waite. Tori Easley, left, Sasha Dailey, Jasmyne Smith, Rogers coach Lamar Smith, and Keyanna Austin celebrate their victory overs Start to win the City League girls basketball championship Saturday at Waite.
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Rogers accomplished a three-peat on Saturday when it rolled to a convincing 69-23 rout of Start in the City League girls basketball tournament championship at Waite.

A third title was certainly a charm for Rogers senior Jasmyne Smith, who pumped in a game-high 14 points. The Miami (Ohio)-bound guard watched as her teammates did all the work to win the previous two crowns while she sat on the bench with season-ending knee injuries.

"This one is really special for me because it is my first one actually playing in and being a part of it, it's nothing like it," Smith said. "The first year we won I actually cried in the locker room. I was happy for my team, but I didn't really play, so it was hard but you still had to put a smile on your face because you're happy your team won."

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view photos of the game.

Smith was one of four Rams to score in double-figures. Keasja Peace and Akienreh Johnson tallied 11 points apiece and Sasha Dailey chipped in 10 as nine Rams scored at least two points.

"I'm very proud because it took a lot of hard work to get three in a row," said Rams coach Lamar Smith, who is also Jasmyne's father. "They wanted to set a tone in winning three in a row, so the girls came out and made a statement very early in the game.

Start's Marquasia Turner is guarded closely by Rogers' Brelynn Hampton-Bey in Saturday’s game. Start's Marquasia Turner is guarded closely by Rogers' Brelynn Hampton-Bey in Saturday’s game.
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I'm very proud of that because I didn't want them to come out like we did in the semifinals [against Waite], a little relaxed. I knew they'd step up because this is championship time."

The Rams (18-4) left no doubt about this championship. They dominated right from the start and never looked back. They owned a 16-3 lead at the end of the first quarter and went into halftime comfortably ahead 36-12.

"We were definitely trying to make a statement because everybody thought we would come out slow again and be in more of a game, but we weren't having that this time," Jasmyne Smith said.

The Spartans (10-8) just didn't match up well against the Rams. Mariah White scored a team-leading eight points for Start, which never produced more than nine points in any quarter.

"Rogers deserved to win," Start coach Leon Kynard said. "They play hard. They play smart. Our pressure didn't bother them. They played like a veteran team."

The Rams may have four seniors, but rely heavily on underclassmen.

Johnson and Peace are 6-foot sophomores that played big. Both have contributed in winning the last two championships. Both figure to be key in the Rams trying to make a state-title run.

"This is nice, and I've helped them win it twice," Peace said. "It's good for them to win it three in a row, but we're going to win it two more times."

Sydney Petty, a 6-2 sophomore, came off the bench to add eight points. It was her first celebration after transferring from Central Catholic.

"It's so much fun over here and I just love this team and I'm proud of them," Petty said.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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