By TONY EIERDAM
After 31 games, which included 10 District 6-3A contests and three tournaments, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams enter the “second season” of the high school basketball schedule.
The Lady Rams finished in third place in 6-3A and will assume the league’s third seed in the Class 3A, Region I playoffs and will face the Vernon Lady Lions, the second-place team from District 5-3A, at 6:30 p.m. today at the Olney High School gym.
The Lady Rams will bring a solid 22-9 record into the playoffs despite playing with four new starters and three ladies who had never played at the varsity level.
The Lady Lions bring a 10-14 record into the game, but despite a losing record the Lady Lions split with district-champion Wichita Falls Hirschi.
“Vernon is clearly scrappy and competitive,” Lady Rams head coach Ed Shelstead said. “We will have to shoot well and defend well to win.
“I feel the game will be decided from the boards and field goal percentage.”
The Lady Rams will look to their leading scorer and rebounder, 6-1 senior Sydney Shelstead, and leading outside shooter, senior wing Niya Benavides, for scoring and inside stability.
In 10 district games, Shelstead averaged a double double with 22 points and 14 rebounds per game. She also averaged three steals and two blocked shots.
Benavides, who makes her living beyond the three-point arc, averaged 15 points and almost five boards per game in league play.
But the Lady Rams have also discovered another offensive threat during the 10-game district slate. Sophomore Kennedy Shelstead – one of the four newcomers and one of three Lady Rams playing varsity for the first time this season – led the Lady Rams in scoring in two district contests while averaging 10.5 points and three rebounds per league game. She also recorded an average of two assists and a pair of steals each contest.
The Lady Rams will also have to rely on their defensive specialists – junior guards Bethany Allen and Courtney Peña – to stop a potent Vernon offense. Allen is the second of the three newcomers to varsity and is playing in her first year of high school basketball.
Peña is the first lady off the bench and is frequently assigned to guard the opponent’s best perimeter player.
And after 31 games, starting point guard Natalie Ragland, a freshman, has gained valuable experience running the Lady Rams’ offense. Ragland, who averages 4.5 points, five rebounds and three assists per game may be the key to the offensive success of the team.
“We have to raise our level of intensity and make sure we involve all players in the offense and not be so reliant on Sydney and Niya,” Ed Shelstead said. “We have to spread the shots around and execute against a zone.”
The winner of the contest will advance to the area round and will face Liberty Hill, the District 8-3A champion.
Lady Rams to face Vernon today in girls’ bi-district basketball playoff
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2
While the rest of Mineral Wells ISD was relaxing on spring break, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams were going to work. In their District 6-3A opener, Tuesday night, at Kessler Field, the Lady Rams demolished the rival Castleberry Lady Lions, 16-2, in just four-and-a-half innings, bringing their season record to a glowing 17-5.
The weather wasn't the only thing heating up, Monday afternoon. The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (16-5) were simply on fire in both phases of the game as they crushed the Graham Lady Blues, 10-0, in five innings at Kessler Field.
Protecting their home turf
After finishing the first day of the Mineral Wells Tournament a perfect 3-0, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams (15-4) were back in action Friday with a double-header to close out the home portion of the tourney.
Rams shine at Brock Tournament
BROCK – The Mineral Wells Rams (9-6) had a strong showing at the Brock Tournament, Thursday and Friday, as they continued to lay a firm foundation for the rest of their season.
After over a month of speculation, the Ram faithful have a new leader in which to place their hope.
Friday night, the Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees announced their decision to hire Waco Midway's Co-Offensive Coordinator Gerald Perry as the new Athletic Director and head football coach of Mineral Wells High School.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Lady Rams run away with district opener vs. Castleberry, 16-2