MINERAL WELLS —
By TONY EIERDAM
FORT WORTH – Mineral Wells head boys basketball coach Aaron Pappas has always preached defense, defense, defense to his Rams.
So when the Rams found themselves down by four points at halftime here Friday night in the boys’ District 6-3A opener at Diamond Hill, Pappas did not really have a “fire-and-brimstone” speech for his favored squad, but instead offered a bit of advice.
“At halftime, we talked about making free throws and keeping up the intensity defensively,” Pappas said. “We also talked about making those shots around the basket. We kept pounding them on the boards, and those put backs we were missing in the first half we started making them in the second half.”
The Rams appeared to listen.
Paced by 21 points and 13 rebounds from post Ricky Scott and 11 points and 14 rebounds from post A.J. Williams, the Rams came from behind to defeat the Eagles, 64-43, and finds themselves on top ,of the District 6-3A standings.
The Rams’ defensive pressure was so intense in the fourth quarter that Diamond Hill scored just eight points.
In fact, the Eagles did not have their first score in the final stanza until there was 4:11 left in the game.
By that time, the Rams had just finished an 18-0 run that put the game away.
“Our pressure got to them a little in the first half, but in the second half we turned it up a notch,” Pappas said. “They couldn’t handle our full-court pressure and turned the ball over a lot, and that led to layups for us.
“We really didn’t shoot the ball well, but (Friday) defense is what won us the game. I have not been able to say that in a long time.”
The Rams also pulled down 45 rebounds and dominated the boards in the second half.
“Ricky and A.J. played big for us,” Pappas said. “Diamond Hill is not a big team, and those two dominated in the paint.