By TONY EIERDAM
SPRINGTOWN – Springtown raced out to leads of 15-3 and 22-7 as the Lady porcupines secured second place with a 58-46 win over the Mineral Wells Lady Rams here Friday night in a District 6-3A contest.
The Lady Rams, who have clinched third place and a playoff spot, close the 6-3A slate against league champion Kennedale at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the MWHS gym.
“We got into a hole that was hard to crawl out of,” Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman said.”We came out a little tense, we weren’t relaxed, and we were not shooting the ball well.
“We were rushing our shots, we weren’t taking our time to get a good shot off, and they did. Springtown came ready to play, and we didn’t.”
The Lady Porcupines focused most of their defensive effort on stopping Lady Rams sophomore point guard Natalie Ragland, who coming into the contest was averaging 22 points per game. She scored 24 against Springtown in the first meeting between the two teams. Ragland finished with eight points.
“They started out in a box and one, and they were keying on Natalie,” Holman said. “When we tried to get her off the screen, there was somebody there to pick her up.
“We were trying to kick the ball out to our shooters in the corner, but we weren’t hitting the shots. Springtown was consistent on offense, and we weren’t.”
Trailing by 15 in the second period, the Lady Rams got back into the game when Madie Pappas and Pam Hopkins came off the bench in the second quarter and provided an offensive boost that kept MWHS in the game. Hopkins and Pappas would each finish with 10 points to lead the team.
In the second, Hopkins went three-for-three from the field, including a pair of three pointers, and Pappas canned a pair of jumpers, including a trey. A put back by post Tabby Santibanez closed the second-period scoring as the Lady Rams cut the Lady Porcupines’ lead to eight points at the break, 30-22.
“Our starters weren’t hitting their shots, so I went to my bench and Pam and Madie came through,” Holman said. “That made it a reasonable margin at halftime.”
Unruffled, Springtown came out aggressively in the third quarter and began the session with a 9-0 run– thanks in part to five points from Brooklyn Dauenhauer, who finished with a game-high 15 points – to take a commanding 39-22 lead.
MWHS guard Riley Bullock ended the run with a three-pointer, and a free throw by Ashlynn Robinson followed by a put back from Tabby Santibanez cut the hosts’ lead to 45-31.
But Dauenhauer closed the third-period scoring with a pair of free throws as Springtown took a 47-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Springtown’s lead grew to 56-38 before Pappas hit a trey with just under three minutes remaining in the contest.
However, SHS post Jordan Doremus found the bucket twice from the paint to extend the lead to 58-41.
MWHS closed the scoring on a three-pointer by Ragland and a layup from Pappas.
“I told the girls in big games they have to come out ready to play,” Holman said. “It starts on the bus ride over and carries over into warmups. Springtown was ready to play, we weren’t.”
MWHS 7 15 9 15 – 46
SHS 22 8 17 11 – 58
MWHS – Pam Hopkins 10, Maddie Pappas 10, Natalie Ragland 8, Tabby Santibanez 6, Riley Bullock 6, Courtney Peña 3, Ashlynn Robinson 3.