MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
Still working on the right combinations and seeking an identity, the Mineral Wells Rams will conclude the non-district portion of their season at 8 p.m. today at home against revenge-seeking Burkburnett.
Last year, in arguably the most exciting game of the year, the unranked Rams stunned No. 10 Burkburnett by defeating the Bulldogs in the area playoffs.
However, the 2012-13 Rams do not resemble much of last year’s club. The Rams, who will take a 10-11 record into today’s game, have a new leading scorer, Ricky Scott, and a new point guard in sophomore Biren Clardy.
The Rams are still a team worthy of being talked about as a playoff team, but head coach Aaron Pappas feels there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We are not the same team we were last year,” Pappas said. “Looking at the make up of the roster and chemistry-wise, we are a totally different team.
“Our focus is still on the task at hand, and that is making the playoffs again. We know we still have an uphill battle, and I feel the kids are going to respond, and hopefully (today) against Burk.
“I would like us to have a good game before we start district Friday at (Fort Worth) Diamond Hill.”
Pappas said Burkburnett’s roster is also different from last year, but added the remaining players will remember last year’s 77-75 MWHS playoff win.
“Burk is a different team, but they are still good and ranked No. 7 in Class 3A” Pappas said. “They are smaller compared to last year, but they are still just as athletic as they always have been.
“I am sure we will still see their full-court pressure and half-court traps. But I am also sure they are licking their chops in anticipation of playing us.
“I would think they are looking for a little revenge.”
Pappas said MWHS, coming off a 54-40 loss to Bridgeport, is heading in the right direction offensively, but defensively is still trying to find the best combinations.
“Every day is something new,” he said. “We thought we had a chance to go to Bridgeport (on Friday) and win, but we didn’t play well offensively. We didn’t shoot the ball well, and we are still struggling on the defensive end.
“We are trying to find our identity defensively, trying to find out what kind of team we want to be. But I have faith in these kids, and hopefully they still have faith in me that we can get the job done when district starts.”