By TONY EIERDAM
Although the Mineral Wells Lady Rams fell 52-46 Tuesday night at home to Springtown, a team that decisively beat them twice last year, the MWHS ladies appear to have gained the confidence it takes to not only reach the Class 3A playoffs, but win in the playoffs as well.
The Lady Rams, paced by a brilliant 24-point effort by sophomore point guard Natalie Ragland, held the lead through the first 12 minutes, were tied at the half and led as late as the middle of the third quarter.
But Springtown had just a little too much on the offensive end and on the boards as the Lady Porcupines escaped with a six-point win and handed the Lady Rams their first loss in District 6-3A play.
Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman feels her team has turned the corner in the first half of district play. The Lady Rams will continue 6-3A action Friday at Kennedale in a 6:30 p.m. start.
“I was pleased with the girls’ hustle and effort,”Holman said. “Playing them to within six ... we are just right there.
“We just have to start believing that we are, and I feel this game will build our confidence. We can’t wait to play them again.
“Last year, I don’t think we came within 20 of them both times. But playing them to within six this year is a positive for us.
“If the kids will just keep fighting and believing we will get there, we will get them in Springtown (on Jan. 31).”
Ragland was force on offense and scored nine of the Lady Rams’ 10 points in the third quarter to keep MWHS in the game. Fifteen of her game-high 24 points came in the second half.
“Natalie did a great job,” Holman said. “She was doing a great job of taking the ball to the hole, and that’s what I told everyone to do if they saw they had a step on the girl guarding them.