SHELBY -- Mansfield St. Peter's junior Jonah Ramey was diagnosed with the mononucleosis virus in January -- one day after going scoreless in his team's eight-point win over Plymouth.
Now completely healthy, the athletic 6-3 post made the Big Red feel ill on Tuesday night, scoring 18 points in a 62-42 Division IV sectional semifinal win over Plymouth at Shelby High School.
Veteran Spartans' coach Joe Jakubick said Ramey could have been ill from the start of the season, missing six games after the mono diagnosis.
"You saw the kid today and he is not the same kid as game one of the seasob. It makes us a different team out there. He is a tremendous athlete," Jakubick said.
The Spartans (14-8), seeded seventh in a talented 12-team district, will play No. 3-seed Margaretta (16-6) Friday at 8 p.m. at Shelby High School in the sectional title game.
Plymouth ends its season 12-11.
FEELING BETTER: Ramey, in his third year on the St. Peter's varsity, said he is feeling better -- and also said team chemistry is improved for the three-time defending district champion.
"We have a made a lot of improvements since our last game and we put a lot of focus in getting better with that week off," Ramey said.
Plymouth coach Derrick Shelenberger said he saw a considerable difference in Ramey from the Jan. 8 meeting won by the Spartans, 42-34.
"He seemed a lot more active tonight. They did a lot better job of getting to the rim and when we stepped up to help, he was the beneficiary getting the dish under the rim. He has played in big games," the fourth-year Big Red coach said.
Ramey scored seven points in the first half as the Spartans built a 29-9 lead and then poured in nine in the third quarter as the lead expanded to 44-17 going into the final quarter.
Seniors Luke Henrich (15 points) and Caleb Stewart (12) also finished in double figures for the Spartans.
The St. Peter's box-and-one defense focused on high-scoring Plymouth senior guard Jacob Adams was stifling. Adams finished with 19 points, though he only had two in the first 24 minutes of the game.
It's the same defense Jakubick successfully deployed against Plymouth in the first game with junior Shawn Perkins-Harris again shadowing Adams.
"You have to pick your poison," Jakubick said. "I have seen (Adams) on film in many games and he is a tremendous offensive player. We know to give ourselves a chance, we had to take him out of his rhythm."
Ramey, waiting near the basket when Adams did manage to break loose, said the focus had to be on the 6-3 guard.
"He is a great shooter who can drop 50 on teams if he gets hot. We focused on him and we played defense very well," Ramey said.
TOURNAMENT TESTED: The tournament trail has been a familiar path for the Spartans in recent years.
Another rugged regular season schedule has been a key, according to Jakubick, whose team was hammered, 86-47, by Canal Winchester Harvest Prep in the season finale.
"That (regular season) is the gameplan," Jakubick said. "I always try to make our schedule as hard as possible. We played Harvest Prep and got lit up. They might be the best team in Division II or III.
"It's great, because if you face that kind of pressure, what else are you going to face? I feel it's better to be challenged like that than to play teams you believe you are going to beat anyway," Jakubick said.
Shelenberger said he was proud of his team's effort in the final quarter when the Big Red outscored the Spartans, 25-18.
"When you score single digits in three of four quarters, you aren't going to win much. Maybe I should have pressed the whole game. Most teams would quit, but my kids didn't. It (just) seemed like we couldn't do anything right for three quarters," Shelenberger said.
Plymouth will lose six seniors to graduation in Adams, Anthony Montgomery, Kade Collins, Blake Gibson, Gryffin McClure and Gaige Porter. All of them arrived as freshmen when Shelenberger took over the program.
"Those kids up to work all summer long and don't give attitude," Shelenberger said. "(Adams) gets a lot of the headlines because of his scoring ability, but guys like Kade Collins, Anthony Montgomery and Blake Gibson give it everything in every game."
Adams was the only Big Red player in double figures. Junior Brody Brown had eight points, all in the fourth quarter.