MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells Rams head coach Aaron Pappas had a plan to confuse the Castleberry Lions Tuesday night in a District 6-3A contest at the MWHS gym.
He came out early against the Lions using two different groups of players in an attempt to not only disorient the opponent, but to make sure he got favorable matchups.
The plan worked.
The Rams raced past Castleberry, 79-53, as 12 different players – the entire roster – scored for MWHS. The win evens the Rams’ district record at 2-2.
“We really needed this one,” Pappas said. “We wanted to go big early so we started Jacoby (Prestwood, who stands 6-5) and had A.J. (Williams) and Ricky (Scott) in there.
“We wanted to force our will inside. Then we hit them with a small, quick lineup and pressed them just to mix it up.
“The strategy paid off. Castleberry doesn’t have players like Kennedale, but we were tied for third place with them so this was a big win.”
The Rams got an added boost when Lake Worth defeated Diamond Hill, leaving the Rams all alone in third place.
“I could not be happier with the kids’ effort,” Pappas said. “Every kid on the bench got in and contributed, and defensively we were better.
“Our smaller group did a good job with the full-court press, and they did well trapping in the half court.
“We also improved at the free throw line when we had been struggling there as of late. Again, this was a big win.”
After a put back from Prestwood cut the Lions’ early lead to 10-9, Pappas made the switch to his “small” lineup. It paid off quickly as the Rams exploited the Lions in the lane.
Williams began an 8-0 run with a driving layup down the left side to give the Rams an 11-10 lead, and a lead it would not relinquish.
DaShawn Hicks followed with a lightning-quick baseline drive for a layup, and sophomore point guard Biren Clardy found consecutive openings down the left side of the lane that produced a pair of layups for a 17-10 advantage.