By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 2, 2018) — Stephenville swiped 24 steals and pressured Venus into 31 total turnovers while steadily pulling away for a 63-40 District 8-4A victory at Gandy Gym Tuesday.
Venus was ahead after the first, but the Yellow Jackets began turning takeaways into quick points during a 9-0 run to begin the second. Quade Griffin hit a 3 before three consecutive buckets off steals by Griffin, Cole Pettit and Mason Holstein for a 21-14 Yellow Jacket lead.
“We did a good job of playing fast and applying pressure,” said Stephenville head coach Bill Brooks. “Speed is one of our big strengths, so we’re going to use it every chance we get.”
Venus hit a 3 out of a time out to pull within four, but it was one of just two field goals by the Bulldogs in the second quarter, won 16-5 by Stephenville for a 28-19 lead at intermission. It was more of the same in the second half, as the Jackets outscored Venus by seven in both remaining quarters.
Stephenville was balanced with its scoring as Krause netted Clay Krause netted 15 while Skylar Stillwell and Griffin each added 13. Pettit and Cody Storrs both scored seven, and Brayden Hayes and Holstein each netted four.
When the Jackets weren’t scoring on the fast break, they were hitting back-door cuts to batter the Venus zone.
“We’re running that until somebody stops it. If we see a zone, we’re running it,” said Brooks. “And everybody except (Waxahachie) Life runs a lot of zone.
“I know we didn’t really rebound the ball well, but pretty everything else went our way. We played pretty well,” said Brooks after the Jackets shot 51 percent from the floor and 78 percent from the stripe while committing just 10 turnovers. “We just have to keep building on what we’ve got.”
The Jackets will get a boost with the return of Blake Aragon, but he will miss one more contest before returning from family commitments in Colorado, that coming Friday when the Jackets visit talent-laden Midlothian Heritage, home to a move-in rated among the state’s best college prospects and the returning District 8-4A defensive player of the year.
“They have a great team and it will be a difficult challenge, ” said Brooks. “But I’m telling our guys to look at it as an opportunity and enjoy competing against playoff-quality basketball.”
Tip-off at Heritage High School will be about 8 p.m. following sub-varsity contests and a varsity girls game.