By TONY EIERDAM
Breckenridge came to Mineral Wells on Tuesday and the Buckaroos demonstrated why they deserve to be in the top 15 of the initial Class 2A boys basketball poll.
The No. 14 Buckaroos took the Mineral Wells Rams out of their offensive game plan with solid mid court defense and also dominated on the boards as Breckenridge rolled to an 81-69 win at the MWHS gym.
The loss drops the Rams to 1-2 overall.
Before the season began, Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said part of the team’s offensive philosophy would be for his guard-oriented squad to take as many three-point shots as possible to take advantage of his sharp shooters and give his smaller team a better chance at grabbing offensive rebounds.
The plan never got going against the Bucks.
“Most of our three-point attempts were created shots,”Pappas said.”We like to take our threes on drives followed by kick outs, but they did a good job defensively on us.
“They kind of took us out of our game in the half court, and they really didn’t give us much in transition. But we scored 69 and that’s six points above our average, but defensively, if you give up 81 points you are not going to beat anybody.
“We gave them too many layups, we were getting beat in the backcourt and they just ran by us.
“We didn’t help or rotate enough in the (defensive) lane, and they made us pay. They also killed us on the boards.”
Breckenridge, which outscored the Rams in every quarter, jumped out to an 18-10 lead after the opening period. MWHS led 6-5 early, but the Bucks close the quarter on a 13-4 run.
The Rams used three-pointers in the second quarter to try and keep up with the Bucks.
Nick Wendt drained a three from the top of the key twice in the period, but for every three MWHS hit the Bucks would counter the score and come up with a rebound or steal on the Rams’ ensuing trip down the court to add to its total as BHS held a 10-point lead at the half.
The third quarter was a track meet as the teams combined for 45 points. MWHS guards DaShawn Hicks and Wendt opened the third-quarter scoring with a trey each, but patient Breckenridge came back with a 9-0 run to take a 48-35 lead.
Wendt, who led the Rams with 19 points, nailed two more threes in the quarter, the second cutting the visitors’ lead to 57-49. Hicks, who finished with 17 points, also swished a three-pointer in the run.
But Breckenridge outscored MWHS by a point in the period and took a 62-51 lead into the fourth quarter.
BHS stretched its lead in the final stanza, but the Rams got back into the game when point guard Biren Clardy and Hicks each nailed a three to cut the Bucks’ lead to 77-65 with 2:50 left in the contest.
However, Breckenridge pulled the ball out and ran off time to secure the win.
“We just got to go back to the chalk board,” Pappas said. “We have to get better defensively and try to improve on our rebounding.
“We obviously knew we were going to be a small team – we do not have the height that we did last year – and have to rely more on finesse, and as a result we aren’t going to start the season rebounding the basketball as well as we did last year.
“But this group plays more of a finesse style, and they don’t play real physical. Breckenridge played physical and took it to us.”