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There are good weeks and bad weeks for basketball teams during a season, and the Rogers Rams have crammed a pretty good week into the past five nights with three important victories.
The latest came Tuesday night as the Rams caught fire to begin the second half and came away with an 88-81 City League win over visiting Bowsher.
PHOTO GALLERY: Bowsher vs. Rogers
The win locked up an opening-rounding bye for Rogers (12-3, 8-1 CL) in the upcoming league playoffs.
Rogers can clinch the City League's regular-season title and No. 1 playoff seed Friday with a win at Scott (10-6, 7-2), which handed the Rams their only league loss back on Jan. 13.
The Rams' latest win came on the heels of a 65-57 league victory over Start Friday, and a 70-67 overtime triumph in a nonleague contest against St. John's Jesuit Saturday, both at home.
"It's been a lot of fun," Rams coach Earl Morris said. "If you're a coach and don't enjoy this situation we've been through, [beating] Start, St. John's and now Bowsher, something's wrong. It's fun. But there's some things we have to correct, and we know that."
DeVonte Pratt led Rogers' balanced scoring attack with 24 points, while Clemmye Owens, Keandre Gilmer, and Tony Kynard contributed 19, 14, and 11 points, respectively. Tribune Dailey added nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds for the Rams.
Bowsher (11-5, 6-3) made strides since its first CL meeting with Rogers, when a 67-67 tie after three quarters dissolved for the Rebels into a 104-82 home loss on Jan. 6.
Paced by Mookie Mustaffa (23 points, 12 rebounds), and the 3-point shooting of Eric Hopkins (17 points), the Rebels bolted from an 18-12 deficit after one quarter with a 33-23 second quarter, taking them to halftime ahead 45-41.
But the halftime break apparently killed Bowsher's momentum, as Rogers regrouped to open the third quarter with a 7-0 surge. The Rams took a 48-45 lead on Dailey's dunk off a steal 1:20 into the period.
"The start of the third quarter was disappointing," Bowsher coach Joe Guerrero said. "We played the first half how we wanted to play, and I thought our game plan was good.
"But we just can't give up seven straight points to start the third quarter. That was key. All of a sudden, instead of having the lead, we're starting to play from behind."
The Rebels answered with a Hopkins 3-pointer in the game to tie the score 13 seconds later and traded leads with the Rams seven times before the end of the third quarter.
But Rogers' transition game would be the difference as the Rams cashed in on several uncontested layups and continued their red-hot shooting.
"We've got a lot of kids who've been to the [2011 state tournament] final four," Morris said of the Rams keeping their composure late. "That's the biggest stage you can go on, and our guys have learned by now not to panic. "That's what's good now, because at the beginning of the year we couldn't hold it [together] like this. The kids are learning."
Rogers hit 22 of its 32 second-half shots from the field to finish 37-of-64 (58 percent) in the game. The Rams were 8-of-14 at the line, and forced 25 Rebels turnovers while committing 21.
"We were pushing the ball, getting open, and finding the open man," Pratt said of Rogers' solid shooting game. "We just kept scoring. We score as much as we can."
Bowsher was 30-of-64 (47 percent) from the field, 14-of-24 from the line, and outrebounded Rogers 40-34.
Devon Jordan had 15 points for the Rebels, and Kharri Dailey added 12, including 10 in the final quarter while Bowsher attempted to keep pace with the fast-paced Rams attack.
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6461, or on Twitter @JungaBlade.