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
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
As I've written the last two weeks, Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine is on shelves and, more importantly, in my office. Can you tell I'm excited for football season?
Burke, Carter, Fisher among young standouts at early MW summer track meets
Two meets are in the books for the Mineral Wells Summer Track Club and already many young athletes have risen to the top alongside their varsity counterparts as the apparent track stars of the future.
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- FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season