MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
LAKE WORTH – For a team to find its identity, it has to do something extraordinary in a tough game situation to establish itself.
The Mineral Wells Rams may have found their identity as a tough, never-say-die squad here Friday night in a key District 6-3A contest.
Down 11-0 almost four minutes into the game and playing in front of a surly, loud crowd of Lake Worth students, the Rams overcame the deficit late in the first and took a lead it would not relinquish in the second quarter on its way to a 68-54 win that keeps the Rams in third place with a 3-2 district mark.
Lake Worth, which was looking to tie the Rams for third place, drops to 1-4. The top three teams in the district advance to the Class 3A playoffs.
Rams senior leader A.J. Williams, who played a gritty game underneath and finished with seven important rebounds and nine points, said the team never got down on itself and kept hustling when things were not going its way early in the contest.
“I had to tell my team to keep it together,” Williams said. “We are a team for a reason, and when we play like a team and keep pushing we can do anything.
“We are one of the best teams around if we play like a team. We didn’t look at the scoreboard, we just went after it and did the job. We got it done, and this win was big. We needed the win, we got it, and now we will focus on our next game.”
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said the team did not panic when it got down early.
“I panicked, but the kids didn’t panic,” Pappas said. “When we lost DaShawn (Hicks, who received a technical foul ejection) I went into panic mode.” Hicks was ejected as officials claimed he intentionally threw the ball at a Lake Worth player. Hicks had just been taken down by a Lake Worth player who appeared to have hit him in the head. Hicks was ejected on his reaction to the play. Officials apparently did not see what started the altercation.