By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells head girls basketball coach Ed Shelstead blamed the Lady Rams’ slow start Tuesday at home against Graham on possibly the MWHS ladies being a little nervous about playing on their home court for the first time in three weeks and just the third time in 15 games.
Graham jumped out to a 4-1 lead and trailed just 28-19 at halftime as a younger Lady Blues squad left the floor at the break brimming with confidence.
However, the Lady Rams got it together after the break, going on a 12-0 run in the first 1:42 of the third quarter and scoring 26 points while holding Graham to four points in the period on their way to a convincing 70-32 victory.
Shelstead offered a simple message to his girls in the locker room at the half, which seemed to loosen up the seemingly tight squad.
“There was no ‘fire-and-brimstone’ speech at halftime,” Shelstead said. “I actually went up to the chalkboard and wrote, ‘relax, don’t forget you are at home, you are supposed to be comfortable here.’
“Then I turned them loose and told them to go shoot. That’s it. This is our third home game, and in reality they may not be used to playing here just yet.
“There was no reason to yell at them. They were pressing offensively, and when they relaxed you saw what happened.”
Leading by just nine points, two players who had not scored in the opening half tallied the first four points of the run.
Junior guard Bethany Allen scored on a layup off a feed from Sydney Shelstead, and freshman point guard Natalie Ragland drained a jumper from the right baseline.
After a Graham turnover, sophomore Kennedy Shelstead scored on a driving layup and was fouled. She completed the three-point play by swishing the charity shot to increase the MWHS advantage to 35-19.