By TONY EIERDAM
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams got off to a good start in District 6-3A basketball action after a 76-23 runaway victory over the Castleberry Lady Lions on Friday night in the league opener.
The Lady Rams will continue District 6-3A action at 6:30 p.m. today at Lake Worth.
Although this year in Class 3A four teams from each district qualify for the state playoffs, it is very important to finish in the upper tier in the district as a fourth-place team will have to face a district champion in the first round of the playoffs and a No. 3 seed will play a district runner up.
This is one of the many reasons the Lady Rams winning their district opener was huge, and defeating Lake Worth – a team that will fight for one of those upper-tier positions – would be even bigger.
Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman feels her team found a defensive formula against Castleberry that she hopes carries through today.
“We put in a new press against Castleberry and I thought it worked very well,” Holman said. “Also, getting (senior post) Ashlynn Robinson back tonight will help us underneath the basket.”
Holman said her tough non-district schedule should have prepared the Lady Rams to play in a tough environment against an improved Lady Frogs squad.
“Lake Worth beat Castleberry last week in a tournament, 50-14, so it looks like it will be a good matchup,” she said. “Lake Worth will play man-to-man defense on us, so we have been working on our man offense.
“But if we can get our press going like we did Friday against Castleberry and score points off the press we won’t have to rely on scoring off our offense.”
The Lady Rams have been relying on sophomore point guard Natalie Ragland to do most of the scoring. She scored in double figures in every game of the Burkburnett tournament 10 days ago and was named to the all-tournament team.
Against Castleberry in the district opener, Ragland torched the Lady Lions for 21 points. MWHS has also gotten key outside shooting from Riley Bullock, who has been hot lately from behind the three-point arc.
The Lady Rams are also hoping Robinson can collect as few points underneath along with rebounds, and Holman is expected to put senior guard Courtney Peña on Lake Worth’s top outside shooter.
Holman expects the Lady Frogs to be ready and for their fans to be loud. The two squads have developed a rivalry over the past four years.
“We know it will be a loud environment at Lake Worth and we will be ready for that,” Holman said. “But our tough pre-district schedule has prepared us for games like this.
“I have been telling our girls all year long to be patient, and I feel now is the time for all the work we have out in to pay off.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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