Mineral Wells Index
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.
Early in the second period Clardy struck again, this time from outside as he canned a three-point bucket from the top of the key to give the Rams’ a 24-17 lead.
MWHS extended its advantage to 35-21 after consecutive driving layups by Hicks, and MWHS closed the first-half scoring when senior forward
Kevin Gregory scored on a put back as the Rams led 42-28 at the break.
The Rams put the game away early in the third quarter.
Big men Scott and Prestwood each scored form close range, and Clardy followed with a three-point play when he scored on a layup, was fouled, and canned the charity shot.
Castleberry left Hicks alone on the baseline, and he drained a trey that took the air out of the Lions’ collective sails as MWHS forged a 52-31 cushion.
MWHS finished with 26 points in the third period to take a 68-37 lead into the final stanza.
In sub-varsity action, the Rams junior varsity defeated Castleberry, 55-26, and the freshman team won, 57-54.
CHS 16 12 9 16 – 53
MWHS 19 23 26 11 – 79
MWHS – Biren Clardy 16, DaShawn Hicks 14, A.J. Williams 13, Ricky Scott 10, Nick Wendt 9, Jacoby Prestwood 4, Rascellis Williams 3, Juvaree Sutton 2, Ty Ashley 2, Kevin Gregory 2, Reece Tarver 2, Rylie Hill 2.