Rutherford basketball team is looking to repeat success from last season

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SPRINGFIELD, Fla- High school basketball is back, and several area teams are hoping for that magical season. The Rutherford Rams know what it feels like to make it deep in the playoffs after last season's run to the state semi-finals. With several key players back the goal is even higher this year.

The Rutherford Rams made it to Lakeland for the final four last season after three surprising road wins in the playoffs. They lost to the eventual state champions, and they are using that loss as motivation this year.

"We left last season with a bitter taste in our mouths." Head coach Rhondie Ross said. "We made the ultimate trip to state last year, but we didn't play well down there, and we're hoping to get back down there so we can have a better showing."

The Rams played under the radar last year, but after making it as far as they did they know they will get everybody's best shot this season. "We know we're the hunted now." Senior Guard K.J. Raibon said. "Everybody thinks we're the best in the county, everybody's watching us and checking us out. Everybody looks up to us now."

"It's a little pressure because they know you, but you always have to be confident when you play," added Junior Guard John Wade.

Coach Ross only has two seniors on the team this year, but he has some key players back this year, including All-State guard John Wade. He also has several young players with alot of experience now, and he's hoping they can put it all together by the end of the year.

"The experience of last year is going to be key. Those guys have been in some hostile environments." said Ross. "They know what to expect. We had to go on the road and win three playoff games last year, so those guys kind of know what it's going to take down the road."

Repeating their success from last season won't be easy, but the Rams have made it their mission.

"Everybody expects us to get back. I want to get back and get the ring, but I do expect us to get back there," said Wade.

Rutherford opened the pre-season with a win over Graceville, and a loss to Chipley in their tip-off classic at the ram House. They will travel to Tallahassee on November 26th for a thanksgiving tournament at Leon.