By TONY EIERDAM
Second place in District 6-3A in both girls’ and boys’ basketball will be on the line when the Mineral Wells Lady Rams and Rams travel to Springtown today.
The Lady Rams and Lady Porcupines are currently tied for second place, and Springtown can mathematically lockup the runner-up spot with a win over the Lady Rams.
Should the Lady Rams win, they would have a one-game lead in second place. But the Lady Rams finish the district slate on Tuesday at home against Kennedale, undefeated in the district, while Springtown finishes with winless Diamond Hill.
If the scenario plays out where the Lady Rams win today but fall on Tuesday, and with a Springtown win over Diamond Hill in the finale, which is more than likely to say the least, it would force a second-place tiebreaker game a week from today.
Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman said her and the team are focused only on today’s game.
“The girls are extremely excited about (today’s) game,” she said. “We are playing well offensively and have been shooting the ball much better.
“The girls have really progressed over the past week and are showing some new-found confidence.”
The last time these teams met was in Mineral Wells and Springtown snuck out of the MWHS gym with a 52-46 win. The Lady Rams were missing a key player in that game as sophomore forward Ashley Valdez was out with a concussion.
“It is great to have Ashley back and have everyone healthy for that matter,” Holman said. “I think against Diamond Hill (on Tuesday) was the first time for nearly the entire season that everyone on the team is pretty close to 100 percent healthy. We should be ready to go (today) will a full lineup.”
Holman feels the Lady Rams can win the game if they stay consistent on offense.
“As long as we continue to shoot the ball well, I think we should have a great chance to win the game,” Holman said. “That would put us in position to do no worse than a tie for second place when district ends on Tuesday.”
The Rams want to hold their undisputed position in second place and can pretty much wrap up second place, although not mathematically, with a win over the Porcupines.
The Rams handled the Porcupines, 83-70, in a game that was not as close as the score indicates. Despite the win earlier in district play, Rams head coach Aaron Pappas said he expects Springtown to play its best game, and he added that the Porcupines play well at home.
“This is a really important game for us,” he said. “It is hard to go on the road and beat a good team like Springtown, and I am sure they are looking to even up the race for second place.
“They are hard to beat at their place, and they will have a rowdy group of fans and I am sure it will feel like a playoff atmosphere. They will be more comfortable playing at home in front of their fans.
“We will have to be ready to go from the tip.”
Pappas said his team will have to limit its turnovers and play the same tough defense that has carried them to a 5-1 district mark.
“We are going to have to minimize our mistakes and take advantage if or when they make mistakes,” he said. “We are going to tweak some of our game plan, because they are well coached and I am sure they will be ready for anything we throw at them.”
Pappas is hoping to see a large number of Rams’ fans at the game.
“We would love to have a large turnout of Mineral Wells fans and students there to support us,” he said. “This match-up has become a real rivalry over the past couple of years, and we look forward to it.
“We must get off to a fast start early and make adjustments as the game progresses.
“We need to play well on both ends of the floor and take care of the basketball if we want to be successful.”