In perhaps the most entertaining game on the boys’ side of the Mineral Wells Christmas Classic, the Mineral Wells Rams earned their way into Tuesday’s championship contest by out-gunning Fort Worth Poly, 94-77, late Monday night.
With both teams playing their second contest in less than eight hours, the defensive end of both teams deteriorated in a fourth quarter that saw the squads combine for 52 points.
Although Poly post Luther Thomas turned in a an exceptional 24 points, the paint belonged to Rams senior post Tyler Flaska, who scored a career-high 38 points while pulling down nine rebounds and blocking a shot.
Flaska poured in 22 of his points in the second half, including 12 in the third quarter.
“They were leaving me open on the drive (to the basket),” Flaska said. “I was also getting good position (for rebounds). I feel the team has gotten it together, and we feel good.”
Rams head coach Ty Tabor said a second game in one day is always tough on both teams during tournaments.
“Thankfully, we had enough perseverance at the end to come through,” he said. “It followed the same pattern the first time we played them (a Rams’ win by 18 points). It is a game of runs, and we had the big run at the end to put it away.”
The big run occurred at the end of the third period and carried over to the beginning of the fourth quarter. With the Rams leading, 59-52, junior guard Hunter Finchaer set up Flaska down low for an easy layup. After a Poly bucket, Flaska closed out the third-period scoring with a put back followed by a crowd-pleasing dunk off a perfect et up by Fincher.
Sophomore forward Matt Tincher began the final stanza with a three-point bucket, and after Poly failed to score on its ensuing possession, guard Jacob Vila drove the lane and scored on a layup from the left side for a 68-56 cushion.
After a Poly basket, senior forward Dillon Wilkins canned a pair of free throws, and MWHS completed its 15-6 run when Fincher fed Flaska for a layup on the right side. Flaska got hot again toward the end of the game when he recorded a pair of put backs sandwiched around a drive for a layup down the middle of the lane as the Rams cruised to a 17-point victory.
The Rams earned the right to play Keller Fossil Ridge in the championship game.
“I can assure you, Fossil Ridge will want to run as much as we do,” Tabor said. “It should be a good one.
The Rams started fast against the Parrots with 21 first-quarter points. Flaska and Fincher each registered eight points in the period. Leading 9-8, MWHS went on a 12-3 run to close the quarter, with most of the points coming down low on layups and put backs by Flaska, a layup and jumper from Fincher and a three-pointer by junior guard Zac Tabor.
With legs on both sides starting to weaken, each team scored 25 points in the second quarter as the Rams maintained its 10-point cushion at the half.
Flaska dominated the third quarter with 12 points, with all six field goals coming from inside the paint, including his crowd-energizing dunk.
Poly 11 25 18 23 – 77
Rams 21 25 19 29 – 94
MWHS – Skyler Flaska 38, Hunter Fincher 16, Matt Tincher 9, Dillon Wilkins 9, Jacob Vila 8, Zac Tabor 7, Adam Rincon 4, Donte Smith 3.