By TONY EIERDAM
With a new coach, new players and a new system, it may take a few games for the 2013-14 Mineral Wells Lady Rams basketball team to grow an identity.
Growing pains were evident Tuesday night in the Lady Rams’ opener at home against the Vernon Lady Lions as last-minute MWHS turnovers spelled doom for the Lady Rams in a 55-53 loss to the Lady Lions.
The Lady Rams will have a tournament this weekend to sort things out. MWHS will play at the Lady Spartan Classic at Burleson Centennial High School.
MWHS’ first game in the bracket-style tournament will be at 1:30 p.m. in the main arena against Waco Midway. Win or lose, the Lady Rams will play at 11 a.m. Friday. The rest of the game times will be depending on the outcome of Friday’s contest. The championship game is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
New Lady Rams head coach Leslie Holman, who has only had an entire squad to work with for less than a week due to volleyball playoffs, knows the team is a work in progress.
“There were some spurts where we had some good things going on, but we made too many mental errors and had too many turnovers,” she said. “We didn’t block out well ... just little things we have to work on that are fixable. We just have to work harder to fix them.”
A huge positive was the play of all-district, returning sophomore guard Natalie Ragland, who led the Lady Rams with 21 points, nine steals and six assists while also pulling down six rebounds.
Returning guard Courtney Peña also scored in double figures with 13 points.
Another bright spot was seeing the return of guard Megan Powell, who has not played basketball since the 2011-12 season due to an injury.
In a game that saw 11 tie scores and 10 lead changes, the game was tied at 50-50 with 1:55 left to play after a jumper from the lane by returning guard Pam Hopkins.
Vernon scored on its next possession and then forced an MWHS turnover. But a hustling Peña stole the ball from an unsuspecting Vernon ball handler and cruised down the right side for a layup that tied the game, 52-52, with a minute left to play.
Vernon hit a pair of free throws on its ensuing trip down the floor for a 54-52 advantage, and the game looked bleak for the Lady Rams following another turnover.
However, a huge defensive rebound from Tabby Santibanez gave the Lady Rams new hope. But that hope quickly disappeared with another turnover, after which MWHS was forced to foul.
Vernon missed the first charity shot but canned the next, however, the officials charged the Lady Lions with a lane violation which wiped out the free throw which kept it a one-basket game.
On the Lady Rams’ following possession, Peña was fouled and hit one of two free throws to cut the Vernon lead to 54-53 with 18 ticks left on the clock.
But a “mental mistake”cost the Lady Rams dearly as they did not foul the Lady Lions until there were three seconds left to play.
Vernon hit the first free throw and missed the next as the clock ran out on the Lady Rams.
“Our offense had been struggling (in scrimmage games) and I was pleasantly surprised we put up 53 points,” Holman said. “But offense is not what worries me.
“Our defense concerns me more, allowing 55 points.
“I really want to fix the defensive part before I start worrying about the offensive part.
“But the girls hustled the entire game, and there were times where we got after it and caused some turnovers. We have been working on things like that, trying to be more aggressive on defense to cause those turnovers.
“But we just didn’t capitalize on them (Tuesday night). We made some bad decisions that led to turnovers, and if we would have capitalized on some of those steals we had ... that’s at least six points, and that would have made a difference.”
Paced by eight points by Ragland, the Lady Rams led 15-12 after the first quarter.
But Vernon outscored the Lady Rams in the second and third periods to take a 43-41 lead into the fourth quarter.
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
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.
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.
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- Swimming to State