MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
What has become quite a story this season is the turnaround of the Mineral Wells Lady Rams basketball team.
The Lady Rams, once forgotten after last season’s three-win district campaign, are all of a sudden – thanks to a 16-5 record – contenders for the District 6-3A championship in 2013.
The Lady Rams will open 6-3A play at 6:30 p.m. today at River Oaks Castleberry.
District opponents will see several new faces wearing the red and black, which include four new starters – Sydney Shelstead, Bethany Allen, Kennedy Shelstead and Natalie Ragland – which will join returning starter Niya Benavides, along with a new coach.
Sydney Shelstead and Benavides are averaging double figures in scoring each game, with Shelstead also pulling down a double-digit average in rebounds per contest.
Junior returning varsity members Courtney Peña and Ashlynn Robinson, and new sophomore guard varsity members Pamela Hopkins and Riley Bullock, round out the nine-player roster.
Lady Rams first-year head coach Ed Shelstead has seen the team grow in non-district play, which includes a pair of tournament championships.
“I think our continuity is doing well, but our chemistry is still developing,” Ed Shelstead said. “But as of the last six or seven games I have seen our chemistry as a team grow.
“The girls are improving on knowing what each other are going to do. When you have multiple people together who haven’t even been in the program including four starters – a new player to high school basketball (Bethany Allen), a freshman (Natalie Ragland and two transfers (Shelstead’s daughters, Sydney and Kennedy) – it is a learning process.
“But as of late, if I were to asses where we are at, coming out of last weekend’s tournament (at Burkburnett, where the Lady Rams took the title), I would think our strength is the fact that we did come together as a team and we started using everyone to score instead of relying on Sydney and Niya.