Mineral Wells Index
Ragland, Pappas, Holman receive top All 6-3A awards
Lady Rams place seven on all-district hoops team
By CLINT FOSTER
A successful season full of growth for the Mineral Wells girls' basketball team was capped off in style this week when the district coaches announced that the Lady Rams placed seven players on the All-District 6-3A team and garnered three individual awards – two of which went to two of the Lady Rams youngest rising stars.
In a vote of league coaches, Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman was named "Coach of the Year" while sophomores Natalie Ragland and Maddie Pappas were named "Offensive Player of the Year" and "Newcomer of the Year," respectively.
Ragland, who led the Lady Rams in scoring with 146 points on the season, averaged 16.2 points per game. She scored in double figures in seven out of nine district contests, having to sit out of the majority of both of the games in which she scored less than 10.
Ragland also led the team in assists with 68 – with a 3.4 per game average – and shot a stunning 82 percent from the free-throw line, sinking 45-of-55.
"I feel (Ragland) was very deserving of Offensive Player of the Year," Holman said. "Knowing she was a good free-throw shooter, she did a great job of getting to the line."
The Newcomer of the Year, Pappas, was moved up to varsity in the third district game after she scored 25 points with the junior varsity against Castleberry. Pappas went on to average 7.4 points per game, highlighted by a game-high 19 points in the Lady Rams' second game against Castleberry.
"I was extremely proud that the District chose to honor Madie as Newcomer of the Year," Holman said. "(When I moved her up to varsity), I knew I needed some extra offense in the upcoming games. I felt she moved up and provided that extra amount of offense we needed off the bench. I wish now I had moved her up at Christmas."
Joining Ragland and Pappas on the all-district first team was senior guard Courtney Peña. Peña was the Lady Rams' second leading scorer during district with a total of 78 points, but made her living as an invaluable defensive force.
"Courtney was our best defender on the top of the press and at the guard position," Holman said. "Her quick hands and feet were able to create many turnovers by the other team."
Earning second-team honors were senior post Ashlynn Robinson and junior Tabby Santibanez.
Santibanez was the Lady Rams' third leading scorer with 76 points and leading rebounder, snagging 165 boards at only 5-foot-5.
Robinson finished second in rebounding with 110 and was usually the Lady Rams' go-to gal to guard the opposing team's biggest post players.
"Ashlynn did an excellent job inside the lane on defense and rebounding," Holman said. "Even though she’s not that big, she plays big. Those are going to be big shoes to fill."
Lady Rams earning honorable mentions included junior guards Riley Bullock and Pam Hopkins. Both Bullock and Hopkins were valuable shooters that had a knack for getting hot from three-point range.
The Lady Rams also excelled off the court, with nine students earning all-academic status, including Peña, Robinson, Santibanez, Bullock, Hopkins, Ragland, Katie Rivera, Carson Couger and Scarlett Eaton. Mineral Wells placed more on the academic all-district team than any other school in District 6-3A, a feat that made Holman especially proud.
"I was also extremely proud of the fact that we had the most on the Academic All-District list as well," she said. "These girls work hard in the classroom and their efforts have paid off!"
Tony Eierdam contributed to this article