By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 3, 2014) — Stephenville fought off an early 13-point deficit and took a pair of one-point fourth quarter leads, but Lorena answered with five straight and held on for a 44-41 win over the Yellow Jackets at Gandy Gym Saturday.
Lorena led 19-6 after one, but Stephenville post Zoey Kendall took over in the second. His work inside and a late basket by Tyler Griffin helped the Yellow Jackets within six at the half, 27-21.
Kendall scored 19 points for the Jackets, while Griffin added six including a pair of free throws to tie the score at 31-31 with 1:27 left in the third.
Lorena converted an old-fashion 3-point play that finished the third quarter scoring and take a 34-31 lead into the fourth, but Kendall scored inside off an assist from Darian Brown, then hit a put back for a 35-34 edge with 4:08 to play.
Josh Nowell added a put back with 3:17 left for another one-point lead, 37-36, but after three scoreless possessions by Lorena and two by Stephenville, the Leopards used their full-court press to steal the ball and set up an immediate left-wing 3-pointer by Jack Donahue to move ahead for good.
Two more late turnovers plagued Stephenville, and Lorena hit enough free throws to hold on. It was 43-38 until Brown hit a left-wing triple with 4.44 seconds on the clock.
After a quick foul, Lorena hit one of two from the stripe to finish the scoring with 2.73 seconds left. Stephenville inbounded to Kendall at half court, and a bounce pass gave Brown a last-second look, but the 40 footer caromed off the backboard and away as the buzzer sounded.
Garrett Goolsby led Lorena with 11 points while Donahue added nine.
Stephenville visits Waco LaVega at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, following sub-varsity games at 5 and 6:30. The Jackets host Robinson next Friday, with sub-varsity teams playing at 5 p.m. and the varsity at about 6:15.