Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



With players out on recruiting trips, school finals and COVID changes, the Rams still keep winning.

Practice time is at a premium in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic for high school basketball teams.

That rings even truer for Central Catholic High boys basketball, which has dealt with more than just COVID pauses.

For starters, three members of the team are also standout football players from the Rams' state champion squad in Emar'rion Winston, Jordan King and Riley Williams. This past week, Winston was in Florida on a recruiting trip, Williams was in Miami doing the same and King was off in Pennsylvania.

Now add in that the Rams' top basketball player, Luke Johnson, decided to transfer to Huntington Prep in West Virginia, and it becomes clear CC has been rotating guys in quite a bit.

And the week after finals week, the Rams have four Mt. Hood Conference contests in a five-day span, two coming against top league teams in third place David Douglas and tied-for-first-place Barlow.

However, despite all the jet miles, changes and tests -- COVID and school ones -- the Rams have kept winning and are 10-4 overall and 5-0 in league play following a 73-64 Tuesday night, Jan. 25, road win over the Scots and 50-46 road win at Barlow on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

How have they done it? The desire and grit to come out each night and play tough.

"First of all, they're pretty good," Rams coach David Blue said. "They're talented, they're athletic, but more importantly, they're coachable. They like each other, they enjoy being around each other. Unfortunately we haven't had the practice time, but if you come and compete, give effort and you're unselfish, good things will happen."

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Central Catholic boys basketball's Anthony Angelo (0) dribbles past David Douglas' Josiah Collins (3) on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 at David Douglas High School.

The good thing happening is winning, which the Rams have done in seven consecutive games heading into a Wednesday, Jan. 26, showdown at Barlow.

Part of what has kept the Rams afloat on the court is that athletic ability many of their players have on defense.

With a stifling full-court press that puts opposing guards out of sync, coupled with an aggressive trap defense at the top of the half court, Central Catholic throws opponents for a loop offensively.

And it doesn't take much practice time to give effort on defense.

"Oftentimes it doesn't matter what you put together (as a coach), if you have the guys to do it and execute, it'll look good," Blue said. "I give the credit to the young men because they're coachable, they come ready to compete and we're getting better every game."

Blue praised David Douglas following the win as well, saying how the Mt. Hood Conference's current third place team always gives a fight.

With the Scots fighting tough and no school this week for the Rams, Blue said these are the tough games to win when there are plenty of other off-court things going on.

It's been especially hectic for forward Riley Williams, who is the No. 4 tight end recruit in the country, according to

Williams was in Miami last week, but returned to drop 22 points and 13 rebounds against the Scots and help close out the win. The junior is playing in his varsity basketball season as well after missing last season's shortened schedule due to an injury.

"He's a Division I basketball player as well if that's what he wanted to do," Blue said. "To come off traveling, the jet lag, all of it and come out and give that type of performance. He's a special young man and he hasn't even tapped the surface."

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Central Catholic boys basketball's Riley Williams, left, takes a shot against David Douglas on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022 at David Douglas High School.

That might be true of the whole team as they try to gel with more practice time and even more games coming the Rams' way down the stretch.

Central Catholic may have fallen out of the recent coaches' poll top 10, but the effort and talent these Rams possess is something no one will want to see.

And they're going to do it with smiles on their faces.

"It's an adjustment for all of us, but we get a chance to play," Blue said. "At the end of the day, let's take advantage of it, go out and have fun."

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