By TONY EIERDAM
After two-and-a-half months of after-school practices, scrimmages, tournaments and non-district games the Mineral Wells Lady Rams will move on to play the games that truly count.
The Lady Rams open District 6-3A play at 6:30 p.m. today at home against Castleberry.
For the third year in a row, the Lady Rams will open league play with a new head coach.
However, in this year’s case, the “new” coach is an “old” coach as Leslie Holman coached many of the girls in the MWHS basketball program at Mineral Wells Junior High School.
Holman and the Lady Rams have gotten off to a slow start and will come into the contest with an overall record of 4-14.
But a huge part of the reason for the lack of wins has been health. The Lady Rams, who have lost senior Megan Powell for the season, have not played a game with an entirely healthy squad.
The Lady Rams appeared to have gotten healthier at the end of December as they welcomed back senior guard Courtney Peña from injury at the Burkburnett tournament.
Just having Peña in the lineup strengthens the Lady Rams’ defense,and her experience offensively is also needed.
But just when Holman thought the injury situation was a little settled, senior post Ashlynn Robinson went down last weekend and is expected to at least miss today’s district opener.
“Ashlynn went down (at the Burkburnett tournament) with a sprained ankle and will be out this week,” Holman said. “She will miss our first district game with Castleberry but should be back for Lake Worth (on Jan. 7) “We really missed Ashlynn on the boards (for the rest of the tournament), but Kera Harrison played in her spot and did a great job for us.”
“I was extremely pleased with Ashlynn’s play. She was having a great tournament for us, producing points and rebounds. Hopefully, we can get her back soon.”
The Lady Rams were led last week in the Burkburnett tournament by sophomore point guard Natalie Ragland, who scored in double figures in all tournament games and was selected to the all-tournament team.
But MWHS may have discovered they have another outside scoring threat as junior guard Riley Bullock lit the twine for seven three-pointers during the tournament. She also scored in double figures twice at the tournament, including a season-high 16 points against Hereford.
“Even though we lost (against Hereford), I was pleased with what we did and was glad to see some scoring from several different players,” Holman said.
Castleberry enters district having won its first contest of the season but has struggled since. Holman the Lady Rams will play with a different defensive philosophy against the Lady Lions.
“From what I can find, Castleberry has one win this season,” Holman said. “What I have seen on them, they play man defense, and we have been working on a new man offense this week.
“We have not pressed much all year, just a full court man when needed, so we have put in a new press this week as well. I feel this will be a good opportunity to incorporate some new things.
“To win, we simply need to be disciplined and execute, execute, execute. We are excited about starting district play and are going to take it one game at a time.
“We are not over-looking any opponent and need to take care of business on our end.”
Holman said she is looking forward to wiping the slate of the non-district portion of the season and getting a fresh start with district beginning.
“We start a new season (today) and I have told the girls our record is 0-0 at this point and that is the only record that counts,” she said. “We have had two energized practices this week with all three teams and I am so proud of all of the girls and their hard work and great positive attitudes.”