MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
Both the Mineral Wells Lady Rams and Rams will continued District 6-3A basketball action today when the teams host Castleberry.
The Lady Rams and Lady Lions will tip off at 6:30 p.m. at the MWHS gym, and the Rams and Lions will follow at approximately 8 p.m.
The Lady Rams are coming off a respectable 67-50 loss to first-place and state-ranked No. 7 Kennedale, a loss that dropped the MWHS ladies to 3-2 in district and into third place.
Castleberry will come into the contest seeking its first district win. The Lady Rams defeated the Lady Lions, 87-18, in the district opener earlier in the month.
Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead began the season with four new starters in the lineup – including three ladies new to the varsity level – and looks at the second half of district play as the part of the schedule where his team can take what they have learned and put it all together.
“The best part of the second half of district play is that we are five games more mature than we were when we started district play,” Shelstead said. “Kennedy (Shelstead) and Natalie (Ragland) are in their first year on varsity, and they are much more mature.
“Based on results and history, I feel we are only going to get better.
“Our loss at Springtown (on Jan. 15) was an anomaly, but when you look at how the girls bounced back and fought tooth and nail with Kennedale (on Friday), that was huge and it is a positive sign heading into the second half of district.
“The girls have more confidence. This is old news, but we are a club that has never played together, and we have three girls who start who have never been on varsity (Kennedy Shelstead, Ragland, Bethany Allen), and look where we are.
“Starting the second half of district I am hopeful, and I think we will be a tough out for anybody.”
The Rams will be playing in their fourth district game and are looking to get back to .500 after losing their past two 6-3A games. The Rams began the district slate with a win at Diamond Hill.
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said Castleberry, who has the leading scorer in the district in Marcellys Lewis (23 points per game in district), can put points on the board.
Castleberry will bring in an identical 1-2 league mark into the game.
“Castleberry has three guys who can score,” Pappas said. “They have the leading scorer in the district, and we are going to have to play them man to man defensively.
“They like to shoot the three-pointer, and we will have to change up our defensive scheme and go man on them.”
Last year in two wins over the Lions, the Rams had a size advantage. Post Ricky Scott enjoyed two solid offensive outings against Castleberry last year, including a 20-point effort.
Pappas said the Rams will have the size advantage against the Lions again this year.
“Ricky had big games against them last year, and we are hoping for the same (today),” Pappas said. “We will try to pound the ball down inside like we did (in the Rams’ win) against Diamond Hill.
“We look for Ricky, A.J. (Williams) and Jacoby (Prestwood) to have big games.
“Castleberry, like everyone else, will try to stop Ricky because they know he is our leading scorer. But we will need for him to score for us (today).”