By TONY EIERDAM
Last Friday, the Mineral Wells Rams went into Springtown not only hoping to secure second place in District 6-3A with a win, but also hoping a victory would set up a first-place showdown with Kennedale in MWHS’ next league contest.
The Rams will face state-ranked No. 2 Kennedale (29-0) at 8 p.m. today at the MWHS gym.
Unfortunately, the Rams’ 17-point lead on Friday did not hold, making today’s clash between the Rams and Wildcats – who now hold a two-game lead in the district with three games to play – a game that the Rams need to win to stay in second place with the Porcupines.
Although Kennedale has been blowing past the rest of 6-3A, in a meeting on Jan. 17 at Kennedale the Rams played the Wildcats closer than any district opponent this year.
MWHS trailed Kennedale by just four points in the third quarter, but when Kennedale realized it finally was going to play in a meaningful district game (the Wildcats average margin of victory in district games not counting MWHS is 43 points), the ‘Cats kicked it in gear and showed the Rams why they are a high-ranked team as they won by a 91-69 count.
The Rams ran into an offensive funk in the second half of the Springtown game on Friday, and a lack of scoring from players other than Biren Clardy and Nick Wendt has head coach Aaron Pappas concerned.
“We will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out ways we can get other people to score,” Pappas said. “We have two guys who do all the scoring, and if we don’t get some others stepping up and scoring we are going to be in trouble because teams will focus on Biren and Nick.
“That has to change (today) against Kennedale.”
The Lady Rams have nothing on the line in their Senior Night tilt with district-champion Kennedale in the girls’ district finale that tips off at 6:30 p.m. at the MWHS gym, other than being the first district teams to hand the Lady Kats a district loss should MWHS prevail.
Even a win over Kennedale coupled with a Springtown loss – which would leave both Springtown and the Lady Rams with identical 7-3 records – would not help the Lady Rams climb out of third place since Springtown holds the tiebreaker over MWHS with a district sweep of the Lady Rams.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Kennedale ran past the Lady Rams, 89-44.
Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman felt the team was “a little tense” in the big game on Friday against Springtown. She hopes the pre-game jitters will not be evident today.
“I told the girls in big games they have to come out ready to play,” Holman said. “It starts (mentally) with warmups. Springtown was ready to playlast Friday, but we weren’t.
“I trust we have learned from that.”