Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
With an new coach in place for the third time in three seasons, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams basketball team will open the 2013-14 season at 6:30 p.m. today at home against the Vernon Lady Lions.
But the new coach is really “the old coach” to most of the current Lady Rams. Leslie Holman, who coached most of the current MWHS varsity girls in junior high school, was hired as the Lady Rams’ top hoops boss over the summer.
She said she is excited to begin her first varsity head coaching job since she was the head coach at Jacksboro before coming to MWISD.
“I am extremely excited about the upcoming basketball season and anxiously await the season opener,” she said. “We have a challenging pre-season schedule and I feel it will get us adequately prepared for District 6-3A play in January.”
The Lady Rams have played two scrimmages without a full squad. Many of the Lady Rams played volleyball, and that season did not end until last Tuesday in the playoffs.
“We have had two scrimmages to date, both without a full squad on my varsity due to volleyball and cross country,” Holman said. “Everyone is back for the most part, however there is still a couple under doctor’s care. I am looking forward to seeing how we look as a whole group (on Tuesday).
“We scrimmaged Tolar on Oct. 31 and were pretty evenly matched. We played within a comfort zone and didn’t really have to put out extra effort to play them even.
“It was a good first outing for the most part, but it was pretty much just a mediocre performance and I don’t like to settle for mediocrity.”
Holman said the teams picked up the pace in the second scrimmage.
“In our second scrimmage on (Nov. 2 against Aledo and Weatherford) was a different story,” she said. “We suffered two hard losses but I feel it was definitely what we needed.
“It made the girls realize that there is another level of play out there and we are not there. After the scrimmage I challenged the girls to reach for that level and it begins every day in practice.
“I asked them not to settle for mediocrity but to strive for excellence. In the scrimmages they saw hard work in action and I think it sunk in. We came back and worked hard and practices have been more energized. I am really trying to challenge them to go harder even when they think they can’t.
“We have to change our mentality and work ethic otherwise it doesn’t matter what we do with X’s and O’s. It is hard to perform at full speed in games if you only practice at half speed.”
Holman said she would need the first few games of the non-district schedule to sort out personnel matters.
“So far, personnel wise, I am still trying to make some decisions on where kids need to be,” she allowed. Right now I have Courtney Pena and Megan Powell providing good senior leadership and they look to see considerable playing time along with varsity returners, Pam Hopkins and Natalie Ragland.
“New faces on the scene this year that I hope provide a spark for the Lady Rams include Tabby Santibanez, Kera Harrison, Ashley Valdez and Katie Rivera.”