By TONY EIERDAM
Kennedale completed an undefeated District 6-3A season and defended its league title after defeating the Mineral Wells Lady Rams, 75-43, on Senior Night at the MWHS gym.
The Lady Rams will take the district’s third seed into the Class 3A playoffs.
The MWHS ladies will play Wichita Falls Hirschi, the second seed from District 5-3A, in the bi-district playoffs.
The Lady Rams and Lady Huskies will tip off at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Bridgeport High School.
Despite the loss, the Lady Rams displayed a new defense that slowed down the aggressive Lady Kats’ attack. Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman said she put the defense in late, and she was pleased with how well her team picked it up.
“I am pleased with the way we played,” Holman said.”We put a new defense in (Tuesday) during the athletic period. I was set on something (Monday) in practice, but I didn’t like it so that night I watched more film and I put in a 1-2-2 and we worked on it during the athletic period (on Tuesday).
“I thought the girls worked hard in it, and our defense made Kennedale have to work for each shot. Depending on how we match up we might use it in the playoffs, but it will depend on who we are playing and how we will match up with them.”
The game meant nothing in the district standings as the Lady Rams had already locked third place and Kennedale had clinched the league championship last week.
“I told the girls before the game that we don’t have anything to lose and to go out and just have fun,” Holman said. “The girls felt good about their performance, and I am happy for them and proud of them.”
It was also the final home game for seniors Courtney Peña and Ashlynn Robinson, and senior managers Kalee Calhoun and Raeann Rivera.
“We will really miss Ashlynn and Courtney,” Holman said. “We will miss Courtney’s tenacious defense – when I need some pressure defense she is who I call on – and we will miss Ashlynn under the boards. Both are extremely hard workers and leaders on our team.”
The Lady Rams showed some offense early in the contest as junior guard Riley Bullock connected on a jumper from the left side, and leading scorer Natalie Ragland drove the lane and scored.
Peña hustled underneath and scored on a put back, and sophomore Madie Pappas sank a nothing-but-net three-pointer from the left perimeter to cut the Kennedale lead to 15-9.
But Kennedale ended the period with a 12-point lead and went on a 20-5 run in the second quarter for a commanding 44-17 lead at the break.
The third quarter was an offensive show from both teams as 38 points were scored in the session.
Kennedale began the quarter with a 15-3 run before Ragland and junior guard Pam Hopkins each hit a three-pointer.
Junior guard Scarlett Eaton joined in the three-point fun as she drained a shot from beyond the arc, and Ragland and sophomore guard Katie Rivera each followed with a trey.
But despite the accelerated offense, the Lady Rams still trailed, 68-36, late in the fourth quarter.
Each team added seven points to close the scoring.
KHS 24 20 22 9 – 75
MWHS 12 5 16 10 – 43
MWHS – Pam Hopkins 3, Maddie Pappas 4, Natalie Ragland 19, Riley Bullock 4, Katie Rivera 3, Scarlett Eaton 3, Tabby Santibanez 2, Courtney Peña 2, Ashley Valdez 2, Kera Harrison 1.