MINERAL WELLS —
However, a team does not make a complete turnaround from a single-digit win season to 16-5 just because of two great players. But in this reporter’s observation there are two other huge factors at work here that have translated in team success.
There is no question the Sydney/Niya combination has played the largest role in the 16 wins. But how does a team with four new starters – and all new to the program – develop enough continuity and chemistry to make such a drastic and almost unthinkable turnaround?
Before that question is answered let’s review the four new starters.
The first is at the most important position on the team: point guard. The “quarterback” of the Lady Rams is freshman Natalie Ragland, a polished player who in know way resembles a freshman. She showed poise in her very first varsity game at Lipan and has improved in each game since.
“Our freshman point guard (Ragland), in the last 6-7 games has really settled in,” Shelstead said. “Sometimes I would like Natalie to look for her own offense a little more, but my gosh, you have to give her a ton of credit with the way she is running the floor.
“At times, I felt she was the leader of our team despite the fact that Niya and Sydney are seniors and team captains.
“But there have been times when Natalie steps up and leads us, and I am very proud of her. Natalie is always locked in, and she listens. She is always focused and knows what to do, and she is making great progress.
“As Natalie has improved, so too has our defense. As we have had better offensive possessions, it has allowed us to shift our defenses, and I think that has been part of our success of late.”