By TONY EIERDAM
Even with a 5-3 record to begin the season, the Mineral Wells Rams are still trying to find their way.
Head coach Aaron Pappas is working in new players to varsity and trying new combinations each game, and sometimes the inexperience and lack of chemistry shows.
Tuesday night in a non-district game at the MWHS gym, Decatur forced 24 turnovers and flustered the Rams as the Eagles came away with a 69-52 win.
Pappas wanted to try something different against the Eagles, and early on the strategy was successful as the Rams led 12-7 after the opening period.
“We thought we were going to slow it down, but when they went to a 2-2-1 press we kind of switched gears,” Pappas said. “We wanted to attack that zone kind of like we did last year (in the playoffs) against Burkburnett, but we are not the same team we were last year and it didn’t work out (Tuesday).
“We had too many turnovers, which just killed us. We shot a lot of free throws, and shot a pretty good percentage, but when you turn the ball over that many times you are not going to beat anybody.”
Pappas is also trying to work in new defenses, and Tuesday started out in a zone before the Eagles got hot from outside.
“We got into a couple of different zones, and we looked good at times,” Pappas said. “But they shot the three ball pretty good, and it forced us out of our zone in the second half and we went to playing man.
“That wasn’t good for us because they are quicker than we are at all five positions.
“We just got outclassed by a better team, and Decatur played a great game. But it is still a process. We have to tinker with some things.”
The Rams began the contest with a patient game on offense, and senior post Ricky Scott nailed a three-point basket from the left perimeter to begin the game.
Decatur was frustrated by the Rams’ zone early and did not score until hitting a three with 3:51 left in the opening period which tied the game at 3-3.
MWHS went ahead 8-5 after a jumper from Scott in the lane, a free throw by senior forward A.J. Williams and a jumper by sophomore point guard Biren Clardy.
Scott led the Rams with 19 points, while Williams turned in a double double with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Scott continued to stay hot from the field and drained a jump shot from the right baseline to close the first-quarter scoring as the Rams led by five points.
Decatur went on a quick 10-5 run to tie the contest at 17, then went ahead by six points when the Rams committed consecutive fouls after made layups in a 10-second span. The Eagles hit both charity shots to cap the two three-point plays.
Trailing 25-17, the Rams came back with a 10-2 run to tie the score.
Junior guard DaShawn Hicks went four-for-four from the charity stripe in the run, Clardy hit a perimeter jumper, and senior post Cris Valdez completed a three-point play after scoring on a layup, getting fouled, and connecting on the charity shot.
Decatur hit a short jumper at the buzzer to take a 29-27 lead into the locker room at the half.
With game still close halfway through the third quarter, the Eagles hit three consecutive three-pointers to take a 44-33 lead.
The Eagles closed the third period with a 10-point lead and finished off the Rams with an 18-point fourth quarter.
Pappas said the team will need more time lo develop chemistry and find the right combinations in certain situations.
“I think we are going to have to get in our bench more, and that’s got to come from me.
“I have to find some guys who can come off the bench and execute on offense and play good defense and give some of those starters a rest.
“The starters played a lot of minutes.”
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
As I've written the last two weeks, Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine is on shelves and, more importantly, in my office. Can you tell I'm excited for football season?
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals