With their basketball seasons on the line, Stephenville and Mineral Wells will fight it out tonight in round one of the playoffs.
The Rams enter the game as runners up in District 7-4A with an impressive 21-6 overall record and a 10-2 district record, with both losses coming against Kennedale.
The Yellow Jackets are 9-19 in head coach Bill Brooks' second year at the helm, including a 6-6 district record.
Stephenville is making its second straight postseason appearance under Brooks and getting into the big dance was the goal. Once a team is in, almost anything can happen and the Yellow Jackets have taken in that mindset.
"It’s always exciting to be in the playoffs. Since the second half of district I think we’ve really improved as a team," Brooks said. "That’s giving us a bit of momentum going in, so at this stage anything can happen."
This won't be Stephenville's first 'big game' of the season. They've had to duel with two of the best teams in the 4A ranks, including Waxahachie Life and Midlothian Heritage.
Over the course of those games, Brooks has said the team has played some great basketball, but in spurts. If Stephenville can put that form together for a full 32 minutes, he likes his team's chances.
"I feel like our district prepared us well. We were playing playoff-caliber teams and teams that should go far into the playoffs. In our games against Waxahachie Life and Midlothian Heritage, we had some great stretches of basketball," he said. "If we can play like that for an entire game then we have a good shot to win."
Looking ahead, the game plan for the Yellow Jackets is simple. If the Yellow Jackets can out-maneuver Mineral Wells, the team will play another week.
"We’re going to have to shoot the ball well, play good defense and execute our offense. That’s our three goals going in," Brooks said.
Stephenville and Mineral Wells will tip off at 7:30 tonight at Mineral Wells high school.