By TONY EIERDAM
At this point of the season in the high school basketball playoffs, with every team still alive either a district champion or a team that has won a playoff game, it is very important to have all the bullets in the gun firing, and firing in sync.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams hope to get the same result as they did in their playoff-opening win against Vernon when they face Liberty Hill today in the area (second round) playoffs.
Tip off between the Lady Rams and Lady Panthers will be at 6:30 p.m. today at Hamilton.
The Lady Rams saw four players reach double figures in scoring three days ago in their 67-44 win over Vernon in the bi-district playoffs.
Senior guard Niya Benavides led the team with 19 points, and senior post Sydney Shelstead cleaned up on the boards with a game-high 16 rebounds, which included 13 first-half boards, to go along with 11 points.
Freshman point guard Natalie Ragland continued to dish out her share of assists, but she also scored 12 points against Vernon. And defensive specialist Bethany Allen also showed her offensive side with 13 points.
But every Lady Ram contributed at one time or another in the win, particularly on the defensive side, and Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead said that is a quality a team has to have in the postseason.
“We need to continue to share the ball and score as a team; everyone needs to be involved,” he said. “Teams win games, and every single one of us has an impact on the outcome of our games.”
Although Liberty Hill (16-15) was a Class 3A state finalist last year, it has lost seven seniors from that team. This year, the Lady Panthers trotted out five new starters to begin the season, yet they still won District 8-3A with an 8-2 mark.
Liberty Hill is led offensively by post Maddie Metzger, who in 10 district games averaged 14 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Wing Erin FitzGerald has averaged nearly seven points per contest, and she leads the team in three-pointers with 52.
But the Lady Panthers are not completely healthy as point guard Shelby Whitten, leader in assists and second on the team in treys with 40, will miss the playoffs due to an injury.
Defensively, guard Cora Dixon leads the Lady Panthers with 3.1 steals per game.
“Liberty Hill was first in their district. They know how to win and compete,” Ed Shelstead said. “They will be aggressive, physical, and determined.
“We have to match their competitive spirit, our girls will need to impose their will and fight. Our toughness will determine what happens because they will be ready.
“Turnovers, rebounds and making free throws will determine who advances.”
Ed Shelstead feels his team struggled offensively against Vernon and can play at a higher level offensively.
“Offensively, we really did not shoot the ball well against Vernon, and that has to improve against Liberty Hill,” Ed Shelstead said. “I bet we missed 10 layups, but Vernon was a physical team that worked hard, and they forced us to be uncomfortable on offense.
“Most of our points came in transition, and Niya hit some big threes in the third quarter.
“Offense was a struggle for us, most of the shots weren’t falling, and hopefully we will shoot better (today) against Liberty Hill.”
The Lady Rams also hope to duplicate the defensive formula that helped the offense against Vernon.
“We tried to mix it up defensively against Vernon, and our defense helped us get a big lead early,” Ed Shelstead said. “We were hustling, and everyone was in control but at the same time aggressive.
“Our defense in the first quarter was very good, and we pretty much maintained through the rest of the game.
“We hope to have that same effort (today).”
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
No football for CCS in 2014
After a series of administrative meetings from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Community Christian School's head football coach and athletics director, Bryan Horton, announced that the Warriors' varsity team will not suit up for football in 2014 due to a shortage of student athletes.
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
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- No football for CCS in 2014