2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 2/11/2012 12:16 AM

Book it: Warren wins for Ramsey

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The scrapbook has some company now.

Chuck Ramsey has said that the most treasured piece of memorabilia from his 37-year coaching career at Warren is a scrapbook that the team moms made for him after the 1999 season, which is when the Blue Devils made their first trip downstate in school history and finished second.

But he had said that before Friday's game against Zion-Benton. He got hooked up with some new memorabilia in a post-game ceremony, and it will likely hold a special place not only in his home, but in his heart for a long, long time.

Officials at Warren celebrated Ramsey for his 19 years and nearly 400 victories as head varsity coach. Ramsey is stepping down from that post at the end of the season.

Victory No. 395 for Ramsey came in easy breezy fashion just moments earlier in front of a near capacity crowd. While basking in a 72-58 victory over the Zee-Bees that clinched the North Suburban Conference Lake Division championship for the Blue Devils, Ramsey was presented with all kinds of goodies.

He got a gold tie adorned with Warren's Blue Devil logo from his players. He also got a basketball signed by all his players as well as multiple plaques, a picture from one of his teams in the 1970s and a framed blue Warren No. 21 jersey. The number 21 represents the number of victories Ramsey has averaged each year over his 19 seasons.

"Now I've got to get through a reception," smiled Ramsey, who noted that he had kept it together without getting too emotional.

About 30 of Ramsey's former players were in attendance for the game and the post-game festivities. After speeches by athletic director Mark Pos, assistant coaches Bill Werly and Rick Pearce as well as Ramsey himself, the former players met up with the current players at mid-court and formed a huddle and yelled "Ramsey!"

The Blue Devils (18-2) got double-figures out of five players, including a team-high 18 points out of both Mitch Munda and Darius Paul. Munda was thrilled that one of his best games of the year came on Ramsey's special night.

"It feels great," said Munda, who drained 2 three-pointers. "I'm so glad that Coach Ramsey picked this group of guys for his last season. It was a great win for Senior Night, for all the fans, for all the former players who showed up. I'm so happy with the win tonight.

"This meant a lot to us. There were a lot of emotions and I think they'll be shown back in the locker room, too. We just want to keep this going. We want to get back downstate and we want to win it this time. We don't want second place this time, we don't want that for Coach Ramsey. We don't want him to leave like that."

Munda is among a handful of players who returned from last year's Class 4A state runner-up team, all of whom have plenty in common with guys like Mike Brandow. Brandow was a starter on Warren's 1999 state runner-up team and he was in the house for Ramsey's big night.

"It's bittersweet to be here because it means that Coach Ramsey is leaving," said Brandow, who is now 30 and living in Michigan with his wife and 3 1/2-year-old son. "But seeing all the guys from past teams show up has been pretty nice.

"There are some classic memories with just being at the Pontiac (holiday) tournament, obviously the state run, and just things about (Ramsey) as a coach. He instilled in a lot of us that 'Play Hard, Play Smart' mentality and that has really stuck with me. I remember a lot of things he taught us as young men playing basketball that has translated into life. He's just a good guy."

And that good guy saw some awfully good basketball out of his team.

The Blue Devils jumped out to a 14-4 first-quarter lead and extended that to a 14-point halftime lead. Besides Munda and Paul, Nathan Boothe (11 points), Jon Geske (10 points) and JoVaughn Gaines (10 points) also scored in double-figures.

Meanwhile, Zion-Benton sophomore forward Milik Yarbrough poured in a game-high 24 points and Jadon Brown and Devante Nicks added 13 and 10 points respectively.

"I was really concerned because there was a lot going on tonight, just a million things for high school kids to handle," Ramsey said. "I thought they did a great job with it. We played well for the most part. We had contributions from a number of kids tonight. It was a good game for our kids."

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