By TONY EIERDAM
Paced by a 23-4 run in the third quarter, the Mineral Wells Rams raised their overall record above the .500 mark after defeating Krum, 76-66, Tuesday night at the MWHS gym.
The win raises the Rams’ mark to 5-4. The Rams will play next at 6 p.m. Friday at Brownwood.
The final score was misleading. The Rams, paced by 28 third-quarter points, took a commanding 57-33 lead into the fourth quarter before MWHS head coach Aaron Pappas emptied his bench.
Krum, which had scored just 33 points in the first three quarters, put up 33 points in the fourth quarter to make the contest appear closer than it really was.
“We played great coming out of the half and early in the game,” Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said. “But when we got that big lead I played my guys who don’t get a chance to play much ... I didn’t want to take them out because I felt the lead was safe enough.
“But we squandered a big lead due to fouling and lack of rebounding. We didn’t show much discipline and we committed too many turnovers.”
The Rams frustrated Krum early with a pressure defense that created turnovers which led to outstanding scoring opportunities. MWHS led 29-19 at the half, but would break the game open in the third quarter.
MWHS senior guard DaShawn Hicks, who did not score in the first half, turned it on in the third. He hit a three-pointer early in the third, and then demoralized Krum after picking the pocket of a KHS guard and driving in for a layup.
Hicks followed with another driving layup, and his put back late in the period increased the MWHS advantage to 52-23.
Rams guard Nick Wendt, who led MWHS with 18 points, closed the third-quarter scoring with a pair of free trows as the Rams took a 24-point lead into the fourth period.
“Our pressure early on and early in the third quarter got to them,” Pappas explained.”We have not been able to do that as much lately, but (Tuesday) we felt we could take advantage of the fact that (Krum) are not great ball handlers so we pressured them.
“We took advantage of their turnovers and get into our fast break. It worked very well in the third quarter and DaShawn (Hicks) took over. The third quarter was the difference in the game.”
Krum put together a run of 10-4 to begin the fourth quarter and added a 21-9 run but only got the margin under 10 points (75-66) when there were just 18 seconds left to play.
Reece Tarver closed the scoring with a free throw with two ticks left on the clock.
Also scoring for the Rams were Hicks with 13 points, Biren Clardy with 11, Juvaree Sutton with nine, Broderick Johnson with eight, Tarver and Mark Glover, each with five, Rascellis Williams, Coy Barrick and Dalton Mitchell, each with two, and Jordan Duckett with one.