Coach Tony Raffaele and the Lady Rams are looking for district wins in 2019 after recording a 14-14 preseason and going 0-8 in league play.
Raffaele opened his fourth season coaching girls basketball in Mineral Wells this week as the Lady Rams had their first “official” practice of the year. Several Lady Rams are still playing volleyball but will soon be joining the ranks on the hardwood.
Last year, disaster hit Lady Rams during a Christmas break tournament in Brazosport when all-star Rian Schultz when down with a torn ACL in her left knee.
Schultz described the injury as feeling like “her whole kneecap came off,” and it derailed the Lady Rams’ chances when their do-it-all player went down.
“Rian plays point guard, but we can put her anywhere on the court that we need her,” Raffaele said. “She’s a next-level player.”
Schultz worked hard during the summer to get medically cleared in time for basketball season, and she’s working hard to get back into playing shape.
Raffaele plans to carry 10-12 players on his varsity squad, and with a young team this year, there probably won’t be anymore added to the roster.
“It’s about playing time,” Raffaele said. “If you aren’t going to play you won’t get better. “I have had some bigger teams in the past but it was it the understanding the players might not get much playing time.”
How young is this year’s team?
“We are planning on carrying between 5-8 freshman and sophomores on varsity,” Raffaele said. “Looking down the line, we are going to be young this year and next year, too, but we are building, and that’s our goal to build
One thing for sure is there won’t be any “let
downs” when it comes to the level of competition the Lady Rams will have when they start district play with powerhouse Stephenville among the competitors.
The Honeybees won’t be the only problem for the Lady Rams as Glen Rose, Brownwood and Godley all bring good programs to District 7-4A play.
“I prefer having a district like we have and knowing that every game we go into is going to be a grind,” Raffaele said. “That kind of play is what makes teams better and prepares them for the playoffs.”