By TONY EIERDAM
Coming off a tough loss against Class 5A Fossil Ridge on Monday night, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams took it out on Azle with a 64-39 blowout of the Lady Hornets Tuesday at the MWHS gym.
The Lady Rams (2-3), sparked by 26 points and 14 rebounds form senior post Sydney Shelstead, used a 21-5 run in the third quarter to put the game away.
“Sydney had a rough game Monday night, but she came back (Tuesday) afternoon and did better,” Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead, also her father, said. “If she would have slowed down a little and squared up (on her shots) she probably would have had 40 points.
“She is rushing things a little bit, and part of the reason is she is with a new team (Shelstead and her sister Kennedy are Krum transfers) with a bunch of new girls learning how to play with each other.
“But it is fun to watch them work hard right now, and as we sharpen up and learn each other it will just get better from here.”
Sydney Shelstead scored 10 points in the opening period – on driving layups, a put back and three-point bucket – as MWHS led 14-9 after eight minutes.
In the second quarter, senior wing Niya Benavides nailed a three from the left perimeter and added a put back as the Lady Rams’ lead grew to 29-16.
Sydney Shelstead closed the first-half scoring with a pair of free throws as MWHS led 31-20 at the break.
Benavides opened the second half with a layup from the left side, and Shelstead connected on a layup after a bounce pass from sister Kennedy.
With MWHS leading 38-23 in the third quarter, junior guard Bethany Allen – a newcomer not only to varsity but to the MWHS basketball program as well – took over.
Allen scored twice on layups – once from each side and both set up by Shelstead – and the junior also scored on a put back. Allen returned the favor a few seconds later as she fed Shelstead for a layup that increased the Lady Rams’ lead to 47-23.
Benavides closed the third-period scoring on a nothing-but-net trey from the right baseline as MWHS took a 52-25 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back.
The coach was pleased that his team allowed just five points in the third quarter, and was happy with the Lady Rams’ defensive work overall.
“I thought the girls blocked out well,” Ed Shelstead said of his team’s work in the lane. “They learned from the Fossil Ridge game, and our girls came back and played better (Tuesday). It was a fun game, an the girls played well.
“They ran the floor well, and there is still some stuff we need to fix, but I saw much better effort (Tuesday). I feel, under the circumstances, that as a team we are kind of where we should be.
“We are getting better each game, and again, this early in the season it is about learning each other and trying to establish chemistry.
“We have a long way to go, but (Tuesday) was much better than Monday night.”
AHS 9 11 5 14 – 39
MWHS 14 17 21 12 – 64
MWHS – Sydney Shelstead 26, Niya Benavides 10, Kennedy Shelstead 8, Courtney Peña 6, Bethany Allen 6, Ashlynn Robinson 2, Natalie Ragland 2, Riley Bullock 2, Pamela Hopkins 2.
By TONY EIERDAM
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