By TONY EIERDAM
Having lost their last four games entering Friday afternoon’s non-district home game against Brownwood, the Mineral Wells Rams were in desperate need of a win.
Head coach Aaron Pappas knew his “bigs” would have to turn in solid performances to defeat the Lions, and they did not disappoint their coach.
Paced by 17 points and nine rebounds by senior post Ricky Scott and an eight-rebound effort by senior post A.J. Williams, the Rams bullied the Lions, 70-52, as MWHS evens its overall mark at 8-8.
“It feels great to stop the losing streak, to say the least,” Pappas said. “Ricky played great and got close to a double double.
“Ricky has stepped up for us in the last seven or eight games and has been our leading scorer.
“Our defensive pressure also was a big factor. Our press got them out of their game, and as a result we got some easy transition buckets.”
Pappas said another key to the win was his bench. Reece Tarver came off the bench and scored 10 points, and Brandon Martinez had an active outing with three points and four rebounds. Senior Jacoby Prestwood also added four points and a pair of boards.
“Brandon played a great game,” Pappas said. “Reece also played a great game and scored in double figures. We finally got some bench players to step up and give us some scoring and minutes.”
The Rams displayed a potent offense early in the contest. MWHS, courtesy of 10 points from DaShawn Hicks, including a pair of three-point buckets, and five points each by Tarver and Scott, jumped out to a 24-11 lead.
But Brownwood crawled back into the game by taking advantage of turnovers and hitting five treys in the second quarter to cut the Rams’ lead to 37-30 at the half.
Scott took over early in the third period. After Williams scored on a put back, Scott found the twine on a layup and followed with a jumper from the left side to extend the MWHS advantage to 43-33.
Hicks got hot again in the middle of the period, scoring on a driving layup down the left baseline and taking a feed from Biren Clardy for another layup as the Rams’ lead grew to 49-35.
After a Lions’ three, Scott nailed a jumper from the lane for a 51-38 lead.
Scott began the fourth quarter with a nifty hook shot from the lane for a bucket, and Tarver connected on a three from the left baseline that seemed to take the air out of the Lions’ sails as MWHS increased its lead to 59-43.
Brownwood never got closer than 13 points for the remainder of the game as the Rams evened their record after the 18-point victory.
“Our fast start was crucial,” Pappas said. “We had a stretch where we turned the ball over, and that kept them in the game when I thought we might put it away early.
“But the kids showed a lot of character and played a great second half and finished it off.”
The junior varsity Rams defeated Brownwood, 60-31, as Mark Glover led with 12 points and Nick Wendt added 11.
Also scoring were Dalton Mitchell and Braden Hamilton, each with six points, Braxton Allen, Rascellis Williams and Conner Bradshaw, each with five, Maceo Williams with four, and Dexter Cross, Tanner Newsom and Justin Hendrickson, each with two.
The Rams freshman team fell to the Lions.
BHS 11 19 11 11 – 52
MWHS 24 13 15 18 – 70
MWHS – Ricky Scott 17, DaShawn Hicks, 16, Reece Tarver 10, Biren Clardy 7, A.J. Williams 6, Rylie Hill 4, Jacoby Prestwood 4, Brandon Martinez 3, Juvaree Sutton 2, Cris Valdez 1.