MINERAL WELLS —
“I felt like early on all we were trying to do was feed the ball to Sydney and Niya and sit back and watch those two play. But now everyone has started functioning more as a complete unit.”
The coach has said all season long that rebounding and defense wins games. He has been focusing on defense during non-district play, and is satisfied with the results.
“One of my goals that I wanted the team to accomplish at this point was to be able to change defenses on the fly,” Shelstead said. “We are getting better at that, and frankly, in order to be able to move your defenses is you have to be able to score so you are not always just running back on defense (after a missed shot or turnover).
“I think were are doing OK defensively, but I also think we are coming together offensively. The girls are more comfortable with each other, and that’s the whole chemistry factor.”
Although each member of the team is growing and buying in to their respective roles, the bulk of the scoring load will fall on Benavides – the Lady Rams’ leading scorer last year and a two-time, all-district first-team player – and Sydney Shelstead, an aggressive, physical 6-1 post.
“Teams win based on defense and rebounding, and our rebounding is getting better,” Shelstead said. “And as our defense gets better so too does our team.
“But offensively, having Niya and Sydney is a blessing. Niya stretches the defense with her consistent outside shooting, and if I was Sydney I would hug Niya every day.
“But it is the same the other way. They really enjoy and compliment each other, and as a coach it is fun to coach players the caliber of Niya and Sydney.
“I have these two weapons, and it allows me to come up with different offenses that fit their skills.