By TONY EIERDAM
Coming off a loss to first-place Kennedale, the Mineral Wells Rams will stay on the road as they travel to River Oaks in west Fort Worth to take on the Castleberry Lions.
Tip off is at 8 p.m. at the Castleberry High School gym.
The Rams defeated the Lions, 79-53, in an earlier meeting on Jan. 22 at the MWHS gym.
In the last meeting, Rams head coach Aaron Pappas mixed up his lineup in order to confuse the Lions and make them feel uncomfortable defensively.
The Rams used their “big” lineup – which included posts Ricky Scott and Jacoby Prestwood and forwards A.J. Williams and Ty Ashley – to start the game, and he switched to a “small” guard-heavy lineup of Biren Clardy, DaShawn Hicks, Reece Tarver and Nick Wendt when he wanted a change.
Pappas feels he can dominate the Lions inside and is leaning toward using his big lineup to start the game.
“We are going to play big on Castleberry,” Pappas said. “We are going to pound it inside, and we will probably play three big guys most times.
“We will full-court press a little, and we will mix our defense up with three or four zone presses.
“We will stick to the game plan and make adjustments as we go.”
The Rams are 5-3 in district play, losing twice to Kennedale and once to Springtown, but the Rams avenged a loss to Springtown last week.
Although Springtown is a game up on the race for second place over the Rams, the Porcupines play at Kennedale today. Kennedale can clinch the district championship with a win over Springtown.
Assuming the Rams win and Springtown loses, and both MWHS and Springtown win next Tuesday as expected in their respective district finales, the Rams and Porcupines would be tied for second place.
To break the tie the teams could play a tiebreaker game or flip a coin to decide the second and third seeds in the district.
Despite all of the scenarios, the Rams’ main focus today is on Castleberry.
“We want to get out to a fast start again like we did when we played them the first time,” Pappas said. “They will have the home court advantage, and we will need to jump on them early and take care of business.”