MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
SPRINGTOWN – Springtown took advantage of Mineral Wells foul trouble and went on a 21-2 run in the third quarter as the Lady Porcupines defeated the Lady Rams, 60-44, here Tuesday night in a key District 6-3A contest.
The Lady Rams were down by just four points when senior Sydney Shelstead – the Lady Rams’ leading scorer and rebounder – collected her fourth foul.
While the post was on the bench Springtown went on its 21-2 run to take what turned out to be an insurmountable 45-26 lead.
With Sydney Shelstead on the bench, and with sister Kennedy also in foul trouble, the Lady Rams scored just four points in the third period. The game had been tied at the half.
“When Sydney got her fourth foul that was significant,” Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead said. “The officials did fine, given the circumstances that it was a physical game from the start.
“I always tell the kids that you probably will get two fouls you don’t deserve, but make sure you don’t get the two that you deserve.
“Sydney, in my opinion, got two fouls she did deserve, but out of five ... but that’s basketball.”
The coach also pointed out that Springtown made the Lady Rams play their style of game, instead of the other way around.
“As physical as this game was, it benefitted Springtown to turn it into that kind of contest,” Ed Shelstead said. “They knew we have a couple of influential players, and if they get in foul trouble we are down a couple of bullets in our gun.
“We have to learn to adjust to the style of the game. Of all the teams we have played this year, Springtown, by far, was the most physical.
“They turned it into a physical game and we got in foul trouble, and that put us out of rhythm. But we need to come out and dictate the style. We did this to ourselves. The next time we play them it will be completely different.”
Although the Lady Rams led at different points of the first half, Ed Shelstead said he sensed early on that his team was not on.
“Sydney drew some early fouls, but was one for four from the free throw line,” Ed Shelstead said. “Niya (Benavides) was getting good looks but was rushing her shots. She wasn’t forcing shots, it just looked like she was rushing her release.
“It was just one of those nights. Like they say, ‘on any given night’ ... I don’t anticipate us being as inept offensively in the next game we play, we just clearly were not making shots (Tuesday).
“There were a lot of fouls and free throws, and there was no rhythm to the game.
“We have not really played a real meaningful game in awhile, and this was clearly a meaningful game, and I want to believe that we just had an off night.”
With Springtown leading 7-3, Benavides found the net from three-point range to cut the hosts’ lead to one point. Junior guard Bethany Allen drew a foul, and she connected on one of two free throws to tie the game.
After a Springtown turnover, freshman point guard Natalie Ragland swished a baseline jumper to give the Lady Rams a 9-7 lead.
Sydney Shelstead connected on five free throws in the second quarter, her fifth giving MWHS an 18-16 lead. Later in the period a pair of free throws by Benavides gave the Lady Rams a 22-21 lead. It would be the last lead the MWHS ladies would enjoy.
Springtown took the lead on a trey by Brooklyn Dauenhauer, but Ragland found junior post Ashlynn Robinson for a layup that tied the game at the break.
Early in the third quarter, Sydney Shelstead was charged with her fourth foul, and she remained on the bench for the rest of the period.
Paced by the inside play and four field goals from Springtown post Taylor Babcock, the Lady Porcupines outscored the Lady Rams 21-4 in the third quarter to take a 45-28 lead into the final period.
Sydney Shelstead returned for the fourth quarter, scoring the first four MWHS points of the quarter.
But the Lady Rams never got closer than 15 points as Springtown cruised to a 16-point win to tie the Lady Rams in second place.
“The ship is not going down, and every team suffers a rough game, and we have not had a rough game for awhile,” Ed Shelstead said. “But when a game turns into the one we had (Tuesday), we have to make adjustments.
“As awful as we played in the first half, it was still tied at halftime.”