By TONY EIERDAM
Nothing beats a good, old-fashioned rivalry, and especially when there is a lot on the line.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams basketball team, undefeated and tied for first place in District 6-3A, and the Rams, off to a good start with a win in its district opener on Friday, will play host to Springtown today at the MWHS gym.
The girls’ game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. followed by the boys’ contest at 8 p.m.
The Lady Rams, 3-0 in league play and tied for first place with Kennedale, will look to stay undefeated in district when they host Springtown.
A Lady Rams’ win today also would set up a first-place showdown at Kennedale on Friday, assuming the Lady Kats defeat Lake Worth today.
Springtown (2-1), on the other hand, is hoping for a win over the Lady Rams to not only secure second place but to stay in the race for the top spot in 6-3A.
Last year, the Lady Porcupines defeated the Lady Rams twice in district play.
“Springtown is down a little bit from last year, and to be honest I think we are evenly matched,” Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman said. “I am hoping it will be a close game.
“To beat them we need to make better decisions – sometimes we are making poor decisions on our passing – and execute our offense and be patient on offense instead of taking the first available shot that we think we have. I want us to work for the easy shot.”
The Lady Rams hope to confuse the Lady Porcupines with a variety of defenses.
“Defensively, we have been trying to mix it up, going back and forth from man to zone,” Holman said. “I want to keep them guessing as to what we are going to run, and hopefully they will have to mix up their offense. We will play a little bit of both.”
Holman said a big key for the Lady Rams is playing Springtown at home.
“I am glad we get them at our place first,” she said. “Our crowd will be into it, and the girls will be ready.”
The Rams and Springtown went through “four wars” last year as the team’s split the contests. The Rams won a tournament game over
Springtown, the teams split a pair of district games but the Porcupines won a second-place tiebreaker game.
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said he feels the rivalry will keep growing this season. He said Springtown may have an advantage down low.
“They have a big post kid inside, so we have to do a good job with our interior defense,”Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said.”They have a guard who can really score in (Caleb) Brown, and we have to lock down on him.
“But really, if we will just play good, solid man defense, push the ball on offense and limit mistakes we will give ourselves the best chance to win.
“I feel Springtown is our biggest competition for that second-place slot in district, and that is the slot we are looking for.
“Our games with Springtown have turned into an intense rivalry, we split four games last year but they won the big one.
We both lost a lot of size from last year, so this year our games against them will have a different feel.
“We are more up tempo,and I think they try to be more up tempo, and I think it will be a fun game to watch.
“I am just glad we play them first at our place. The home-court advantage might help us.”