By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (December 5, 2016) — Zitong Zhang scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half to help Box Hill Senior Secondary College from Melbourne, Australia, to a double digit lead that would last it the rest of the way in a 56-42 victory over Stephenville at Gandy Gym Monday evening.
Zhang stretched the defense and hit two 3-pointers as part of her big first half, and Box Hill was fluid in the fast break to score the most points Stephenville has allowed this season. Box Hill improved to 6-2 on its USA Tour 2016, which is what their trip through Texas is billed as on the back of their jerseys.
Stephenville cut a 15-point deficit to seven in the opening moments of the fourth, with Blair Landes coming off the bench late in the third and hitting two left-wing 3-pointers to lead the rally.
But Box Hill answered with an 11-2 run, opening up its largest advantage of 56-39 and putting it away.
“That’s the number one team in the state if they are a Texas 4A,” said an impressed Stephenville head coach Alan Thorpe following the game. “I can almost guarantee you they would be a top 10 team in 6A.”
Box Hill took the lead for good when Zhang banked in a bucket from the left block, making it 15-14 with the final points of a back and forth opening quarter that saw three lead changes and ended on a 8-0 Box Hill run to erase a 14-7 deficit. That came after Jayci Morton scored eight straight Honeybee points to fuel a 10-3 run for a short-lived advantage.
Box Hill outscored Stephenville 18-9 in the second quarter, with a Zhang 3 giving them their first double-digit advantage of 28-18. It was 33-23 by the intermission.
Morton led Stephenville with 14 points, eight of them in the first quarter. Payton Wall scored seven in the second quarter and finished with nine. Tess Baker scored seven, Landes six, Hailey Martin four, Ebony Green one and Jordan Carter one.
The Bees were just 11-24 from the free throw line in their third straight loss. They fell to 6A Coppell and to Whitewright to close out tournament play in Granbury Saturday.
Stephenville competes Thursday through Saturday in a tournament hosted by Midlothian Heritage.
Box Hill officials said they have a game in Keller on Tuesday, then make stops in Los Angeles and San Diego in California before returning to Australia.