By TONY EIERDAM
There is good news and bad news concerning the Mineral Wells Rams basketball team.
The good news is that for the second year in a row under the guidance of head coach Aaron Pappas the Rams have reached the Class 3A playoffs.
The bad news is the Rams’ playoff opponent in state-ranked No. 16 Burkburnett, a team that defeated MWHS 85-54 in a non-district game on Jan. 8.
The Rams are 17-16 overall and finished the District 6-3A schedule with a respectable 7-3 mark. However, the Rams fell last week in a second-place tiebreaker game to Springtown as MWHS assumes the third seed from the district in the playoffs.
Burkburnett, the second-place team from District 5-3A, is 22-9 and fell twice to 5-3A champion Wichita Falls Hirschi, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A.
Last year the Rams were in the same boat but defeated then No. 6 Burkburnett in the area championship game. But Burkburnett has reloaded, while the Rams will be without three starters – three major cogs – from the 2012 team that upset the Bulldogs.
“Playing them once has its advantages,” Pappas said. “We have seen them and we know what to expect.
“We didn’t play well (Friday) against Springtown, but we have to move on from that and keep plugging away.
“We tell the kids if they want to be an elite program they have to beat teams like Burkburnett, and this is a tough region. To go two or three rounds deep in this region would be a good run.
“If we can do that we can establish ourselves as an elite program in this area.”
Burkburnett has two players – Elijah Strickland and Chavaz Jackson – each averaging 20 points per game. Strickland has also canned an area-high 110 three-pointers.
A third scorer, Arthur Hamlett, averages 11 points per contest. On the boards, posts Justin Bell and Matt Everson each average 8.1 rebounds per game.
Burkburnett also plays “in-your-face” defense that forces many turnovers, but it can be exploited as the Bulldogs average giving up 69 points per contest.
In the only meeting between these two teams, Burkburnett came back from an 8-3 deficit with a 12-0 run to take a 15-8 lead. Burkburnett ended up scoring 45 points in the first half and went on a 28-8 run in the third period to put the game away.
“We are not going to play them much different, but we will take care of the basketball better than we did the first time we played them,” Pappas said. “We need to limit our turnovers and play better defense.
“We want to take our time on offense and look for good shots, but at the same time if we break the press we can have some opportunities to score in transition.
“But overall on offense, we want to take quality shots and not quantity of shots.
“Burkburnett is not near as big or physical as they were last year (when they were ranked No. 6 in the state before the playoffs), but they are quicker and a little bit more athletic.
“They also shoot the three better than any team in the area. If they start hitting threes, it will be hard for us to play any kind of zone.”
Pappas plans to begin the game in a man-to-man defense to prevent the Bulldogs from getting hot from the outside.
But if Burkburnett starts giving the Rams trouble inside Pappas said he would have to switch defenses.
“We want to try and establish our man defense,” he said. “But if we get mismatches in man defense we may have no other choice but to switch to a zone.”
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
No football for CCS in 2014
After a series of administrative meetings from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Community Christian School's head football coach and athletics director, Bryan Horton, announced that the Warriors' varsity team will not suit up for football in 2014 due to a shortage of student athletes.
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
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.
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- No football for CCS in 2014