Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local Sports

January 3, 2013

Lady Rams’ turnaround story of local hoops world

As I See It ... Tony Eierdam

MINERAL WELLS — There is quite a nice story brewing this winter at the Mineral Wells High School gym.

The surprise is, believe it or not, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams basketball team.

The Lady Rams have made a complete 180-degree turnaround from last season despite the addition of a new coach – which comes with it a new system – and four new starters who are in their respective first years in the MWHS program. The MWHS ladies are 16-5 and have won two tournaments as they head into their district opener on Friday.

Last year, due to major personnel defection (transfers and players who decided to leave the team) and injuries, the Lady Rams finished with just three district wins and not many than that more for the entire season.

But a new coach was hired in Edward Shelstead, who came from basketball-crazy Krum, and he brought along with him his two talented daughters, Kennedy and Sydney, the latter who is 6-1 and a scoring and rebounding machine.

The addition of Sydney, who averages double figures in points and rebounds per game, has freed up hot-shot shooter Niya Benavides, who no longer has to deal with the double and triple teams that she did last year when she was the only true varsity player to start after other starters left the team.

Now, if teams want to double Sydney inside, they leave Niya wide open outside. Many of us who have had the privilege of watching Niya for the past three years knows what happens when she is left alone – nothing-but-net three-pointer buckets.

Consequently, when teams stretch their defense to the perimeter to try and handle Niya, Sydney gets one-on-one coverage down low, which usually results in an easy two points.

In other words, the current Lady Rams are a tough team to defend.

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