MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
For the first time since the second game of the boys’ District 6-3A schedule and the fourth district game on the girls’ side, both Mineral Wells High School basketball teams will come into their respective league contests with winning 6-3A records.
Both teams are coming off convincing wins Friday at Lake Worth. The Lady Rams smothered the Lady Frogs, 78-12 to run their district mark to 5-2, while the Rams came back to hand the Bullfrogs a 68-54 defeat to raise their 6-3A record to 3-2.
Both teams host Fort Worth Diamond Hill today at the MWHS gym. The girls’ game will tip off at 6:30 p.m., while the boys’ contest is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle both Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead and Rams head coach Aaron Pappas have to face is making sure their teams do not look ahead at the schedule.
Both teams will host rival Springtown on Friday in key contests that will shape the upper-half of the district standings. Also, both will be seeking revenge for losses to the Lady Porcupines and Porcupines in the first half of the district slate.
But the coaches will try and make sure that their teams are focused on Diamond Hill.
In their last meeting, the Lady Rams had little trouble in an 85-23 win over the Lady Eagles.
“We want to control the things we can control,” Shelstead said. “We can’t control anything but ourselves. I want the girls to out hustle, out rebound and outwork Diamond Hill like they did the last time we played them.
“I would also like us to reduce our turnovers as much as possible. Our goal is to have few turnovers, to get to every loose ball and to block out on every possession.
“That will be our focus, and it is not about who we are playing, it is about us. We have to continue to do the things that we can control and not worry about the things we can’t.”
As hard is it may be to do, Shelstead does not want his team to be looking ahead at Friday’s home game against Springtown and the district-ending game on Feb. 5 at Kennedale.
“The Springtown game is a big game and there are no two ways about it,” Shelstead said. “We would like to beat Springtown and Kennedale, but our focus now is on how we will play and get better (today) against Diamond Hill.”
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas, who saw his team trail 11-0 on Friday in a win at Lake Worth, wants his team to be the team that jumps out to a big lead today.
The Rams defeated the Eagles, 64-43, in the boys’ district opener at Diamond Hill, but the Rams did not take the lead until the fourth quarter.
“I am not exactly sure how we will start the game, but we might use a different lineup and press them from the opening tip to try and get some early momentum,” Pappas said. “We want to start out better than we did the last time we played them.
“Our pressure hurt them the last time we played them.
“We full-court pressed them and they turned the ball over, and as a result we got layups. We also killed them on the boards. I think we had 50 rebounds to their 30.
“They are not very big, so we must out-rebound them.
“We have to be more physical than them in the paint, and that is what it will take to beat them.”
Although the atmosphere in the MWHS gym this coming Friday may be electric – MWHS officials are anticipating the largest student turnout of the year and a big turnout from the pubic – the MWHS hoops team cannot afford to look past the upset-minded Diamond Hill basketball squads.