By TONY EIERDAM
For Mineral Wells head girls basketball coach Ed Shelstead, it will once again be “pick your poison” time when his Lady Rams face district-champion Kennedale in the girls’ District 6-3A finale today at Kennedale.
The state-ranked No. 3 Ladycats have averaged 83 points a game in district play. The Lady Rams held Kennedale to its lowest district output in a 67-50 win in Mineral Wells on Jan. 18.
In the last meeting, Shelstead had to decide how to defend Kennedale superstars Autumn Williams and McKinley Bostad, two players Shelstead said are “Division I college-type” players.
Bostad has averaged 18 points per game in eight of nine district games. The Lady Rams held her to a district-low eight points in the lone meeting between the two teams.
In the last meeting, Shelstead chose to take Bostad out of the game – and she was not a factor at all – but that opened it up for Williams, who scored a game-high 23 points and dominated with baseline drives.
But Kennedale’s defense also caused havoc by forcing MWHS to turn the ball over.
Shelstead did not want to give away what his plan will be specifically today, but he did admit some strategy will have to change.
“We have got to figure out how to slow the game down,” Shelstead said. “Against a team like Kennedale, the last time we played them we went six deep, and as a result we got tired.
“We have some stuff we have been working on for them. We have to rotate towards the ball and shorten our passing lanes so they can’t get easy steals.
“I would rather get a 10-count, a five-count, step out of bounds, a travel or a double dribble rather than throw the ball away to them that results in an easy layup.
“We had 36 turnovers the last time we played them, and we have to cut that in half to have a chance to win.”
Whether the Lady Rams win or lose they have already secured third place and will be District 6-3A’s third seed in the playoffs, which begin next week.
Rams head coach Aaron Pappas hopes his team can ride momentum gained in a big win Friday against Springtown. The last time the Rams faced first-place Kennedale, the state-ranked No. 3 Wildcats had their way in a 94-49 win.
“We are going to try and change up our scheme against Kennedale,” Pappas said. “We may play more man on them just because they hit so many threes on us the last time we played them.
“But you are kind of ‘danged if you do; danged if you don’t’ when you play them.
“If you play them man-to-man they carve you up, and if you play in a zone they can threes.
“We are going to change up the scheme and try something different and see if it will work.
“I think we will be better prepared for this game, and I could be wrong, but I feel the kids are starting to jell a little bit, and they gained a lot of confidence beating Springtown on Friday.
“We are figuring out what it takes to win, so hopefully we can continue that at Kennedale.”
After today’s game, the Rams will have two district games remaining – at Castleberry on Friday, and at home in the district finale a week from today against Lake Worth.
MWHS hoops teams travel to Kennedale today to face first-place Ladycats, ‘Cats
By TONY EIERDAM
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