Rampart boys hold off Vista Ridge with help of big man Dawson Carper

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Photo - Vista Ridge's Julius Dowell is unable to get the ball past Rampart's big man Dawson Carper during the third quarter. Rampart defeated Vista Ridge 56-47 at Rampart High School on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.  (Photo by Jerilee Bennett,  The Gazette)
Vista Ridge's Julius Dowell is unable to get the ball past Rampart's big man Dawson Carper during the third quarter. Rampart defeated Vista Ridge 56-47 at Rampart High School on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Micah Hilts changed the momentum for Vista Ridge's boys' basketball team in the third quarter of a nonleague game against Rampart.

Hilts' two-handed dunk off a feed from Julius Dowell set the Wolves on a mission in the second half - and they almost succeeded as they cut a lengthy deficit to five late in the game.

Unfortunately for Vista Ridge, Rampart's not-so-secret weapon emerged in the fourth quarter to give the Rams the push they needed to put away a 56-47 win over the Wolves.

Dawson Carper, who had five points through the first half, used his 6-foot-9 frame to muscle his way to 10 points in the second as the Wolves tried to chip away at the deficit.

"We have to play with fundamentals against an athletic team like Vista Ridge," Rampart coach J'on St. Clair said. "For a little while we didn't, but then we went to our big guy and he took over a little bit.

"We keep telling Dawson you have to be the man and take over, he's so big and so strong that we have to get him the ball and he has to take over in crunch time."

Rampart's Xavier Johnson made his home debut Tuesday with Rampart a memorable one. The transfer from Rocky Mountain put up a season-high 23 points for the Rams. Johnson was three points shy of his career high.

"He's OK," St. Clair joked. "I have to keep him humble. Today he shot the ball really well."

Josh Kavalec reached double figures with 10 points for the Rams, despite being under the weather, according to St. Clair.

Vista Ridge held a 7-2 edge early on, but Rampart tied it 7-7 midway through the first quarter and the Wolves were playing catch-up from there.

Hilts and Tristan Pratt led the Wolves with 11 points each. Pratt did not score in the fourth quarter.

Raymond Harper had nine points for Vista Ridge - eight scored in the second half. Hilts led the team with six rebounds and three blocks.