MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
The District 6-3A-leading and state-ranked Kennedale Ladycats and Wildcats come to Mineral Wells today to face the Lady Rams and Rams at the MWHS gym.
The No. 7 Ladycats and lady Rams will square off at 6:30 p.m., and in the night cap at approximately 8 p.m., the No. 3 Wildcats will take on the Rams.
The Ladycats (19-6) are led by McKinley Bostad, who averages 16 points per game, is 51 of 134 from three-point range and averages nearly four assists per contest. Bostad also averages four rebounds per game.
Another Ladycat leader is Autumn Williams, averaging almost 20 points per contest, and is averaging 3.3 assists per game and an astounding 5.7 steals per game.
Another key player, Travanti Downes, leads the team in rebounds with an average of 4.8 per game while also averaging 13 points per contest. Kennedale’s leader on the boards is junior post Nikki Watson, who pulls down 7.2 rebounds per game. Also, post Sadie Fleschner is averaging six boards per contest.
Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead has coached Williams and Bostad in summer select basketball, where his daughter, Lady Rams’ leading scorer Sydney Shelstead, was also on that team.
“Kennedale is very strong and has an awful lot of talent,” Ed Shelstead said. “If we can rebound and keep our turnovers down we will have a chance.
“But make no mistake, they are loaded. They have two Division I players in Bostad and Williams. Kennedale will make us do things we don’t want to do, and again, the key will be to keep our turnovers down and rebound the basketball.”
In a loss to Springtown on Tuesday, Ed Shelstead felt the team let Springtown set the pace of the game to its advantage. The coach would like to see the Lady Rams play at a pace that allows them success.
“We are going to have to play a style that fits us, but they may take us out of what makes us comfortable,” Ed Shelstead said. “If that is the case we will have a repeat of Tuesday night (in a loss to Springtown). But hopefully, we learned from Tuesday night.
“We want to play offensively at a pace we are comfortable. The pace of the game will be different, and everything will be much faster, more like our Springtown game on Tuesday.
“It will be exciting, and we plan on playing a better game than we showed on Tuesday.”
The Rams will also have a tough task against the Wildcats.
The Kennedale boys have scored 186 points in two district games, an average of 93 points per contest.
Junior Ty Charles, a 6-4 post, is averaging a double double. He leads the ‘Cats with an scoring average of 15.7 points per game while pulling down an average of 10 rebounds per contest. He also has shown an all-around game with an average of 4.5 assists and three steals per game.
But just right behind Charles, scoring wise, is junior forward Aundre Jackson, who is averaging 15.6 points per game while also grabbing 7.6 rebounds per contest.
The Wildcats almost have three players averaging double figures in scoring as sophomore guard V.J. Hughes is averaging 9.2 points per game.
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas realizes the task ahead.
“Kennedale is loaded,” Pappas said. “They are the No. 3 team in Class 3A for a reason. They have size, athleticism and confidence. They shoot the ball well, and they are outstanding defensively.
“They play half-court man defense, and they get into the passing lanes and pressure you. They have good back side help, and they will be more athletic than us.
“We will have to play a perfect game to beat them.”
Pappas said he may deviate from the Rams’ regular strategy in hopes of slowing down the Wildcats.
“Offensively, we are going to have to be patient and try to eat some clock,” Pappas said. “That will keep them back on defense and keep the ball away from them offensively.
“That will be one strategy that we will use, but it will be a tough game, no doubt.”