Spartans claim more hardware

Spartans claim more hardware

CATLIN — Ryan Ferriman knew what winning a Class 2A regional title felt like before Friday night.

Playing a key role in such a game, though? Foreign territory for the St. Joseph-Ogden senior.

Ferriman only scored four points in the Spartans' 73-56 win against Salt Fork on the Storm's home court, but his contributions went beyond the box score.

A sophomore reserve in 2016 when the Spartans won a 2A state championship, Ferriman saw significant time against Salt Fork and was a big reason why SJ-O won its sixth regional title this decade.

"We always tell our guys about being an All-State player in their role, and Ryan was exactly that (Friday)," SJ-O coach Brian Brooks said. "He's that sixth man off the bench for us who is a screener and rebounder. He does a lot of the little things that go unnoticed, but he guarded the post really well and got loose balls when we needed them. He had an outstanding game."

So did the three other seniors for SJ-O (26-3). Bryce Haake scored a game-high 21 points, Riley Baker finished with 19 points and Jordan Brooks contributed 14 points.

"Bryce gives us that slasher that we need," Brian Brooks said. "Jordan and Riley can really shoot it, and when you help on Bryce driving, we've got guys he can kick it out, too."

Salt Fork (23-8) received 17 points from Brady McMasters, 16 points from Blaize Griffin and 15 points from Payton Taylor, but couldn't recover after trailing 38-26 at half.

"I thought every one of our kids played their guts out," Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson said. "They really competed on both ends of the floor and did everything in their power to put ourselves in a position to win. This team just got better every single day during the season. I'm proud of them."

The beat goes on for SJ-O a year after the Spartans lost their postseason opener in 2017. The Spartans savored Friday night's win before setting their sights on Wednesday night's sectional semifinal game against Monticello (24-1).

"It's hard to win a regional in 2A basketball," Brian Brooks said. "We never take these for granted."