Ramsey rising: Dalton forward making leaps on the court, keying Catamount turnaround

Jan. 20—Chaz Ramsey admits he wasn't playing his best game against Cartersville last week.

As Dalton High School's boys basketball team passed the ball around, looking for a potential go-ahead basket in the waning seconds of a road Region 7-5A game, the senior forward was sitting on just five points after a foul-filled night.

With the clock ticking under 10 seconds and Dalton trailing 49-48, Dalton guard Jay Anderson whipped the ball to the 6-foot-7-inch forward.

Ramsey took a dribble toward the basket, was cut off and stepped back behind the 3-point line to reset. He saw space, and he took advantage.

"I was trying to drive, but the guy wasn't closely guarding me. I just pulled up," Ramsey said.


Cartersville's heave in the final seconds was off, and Ramsey's 3-pointer led the Cats to a 51-49 victory.

"It was just electric," Ramsey said. "I almost fouled out and I was having a bad game, but that shot made it better."

The joy of a game-winner was a scarce feeling for the Catamounts a year ago. Dalton limped to a 1-24 season with Ramsey as a junior.

That's also a play Ramsey probably wouldn't have made a year ago.

"I definitely shoot the three better now," Ramsey said when asked what improvements he'd made since his junior season. "And I've gotten more confident."

Those developments showed in the game-winner, just like they've shown all season for Ramsey and the Catamounts. Ramsey's leap is a big reason Dalton is 13-2 after 15 games this year.

"Chaz has grown as a player in several ways, right alongside a lot of our other guys that decided to go in and put in the work. His growth has certainly helped our success on the court so far," said Dalton head coach Ryan Scoggins. "He's not the most vocal guy, but he's one that's just willing to come in and put in the work. Throughout the offseason, he was working on all those skills."

Scoggins and Ramsey describe the summer leading up to Dalton's turnaround season as a collective refusal to struggle to another losing season. With 10 games to play, the Catamounts are already assured of a winning regular season record.

"It feels good. We knew we had potential, and we just decided to put in the work over the summer," Ramsey said. "It's paid off. We're having the success that we should have had before. We've come together as a team, and now it's clicking."

Most of Dalton's returning players have shown marked improvement for the massive team turnaround. Ramsey's been the catalyst for the Catamounts, making a leap up from his average of 10.2 points per game last season to average 18.9 points and 8.4 rebounds.

"He takes some of those post defenders out of their comfort zone when he's out there on the 3-point line. A lot of the time he has to be guarded by the biggest guy on the other team, and they aren't always used to going out on the perimeter," Scoggins said. "A lot of that has to do with his size and his ability to stretch the floor, but he's always been able to use that size too if he has a good matchup down low."

Ramsey showcased it all in a 79-69 win over Southeast in December, draining four 3-pointers and totaling 37 points.

"With his length, he's a good shot blocker, too," Scoggins said. "In several situations, he's been able to get us a good block that kind of changes momentum and gets us going. He's great at pulling down rebounds and starting the break."

Ramsey's combination of size, skill and shooting have him dreaming of playing college basketball.

"He's currently looking at a few different options," Scoggins said. "He's going to have those opportunities. Talent-wise, he definitely has what it takes to play at the next level."

First, he plans to help Dalton finish this turnaround season as strong as it started.

"I'm just trying to keep my grades up and keep performing well for the rest of the season," Ramsey said.