Stephenville (25-7) broke open an 18-18 tie with a second-quarter outburst and held Graham (20-12) at bay the remainder of the way for a 69-53 Area Championship as five Honeybees scored in double figures Thursday night in Mineral Wells.
Despite the 16-point win, #9 Stephenville played ugly at times on offense while dominating with the full-court press on defense. The Bees committed 22 turnovers to Graham’s 12 and missed six straight shots at one point, but Stephenville also made 22 of 28 free throws and scored from all over the court.
“There were places in the game we played really good,” coach Alan Thorpe said. “We had so many breakdowns defensively tonight, and that’s something we haven’t seen all year long.”
The credit would also have to go to Graham’s overall quickness that allowed them to play evenly with the Bees in the second half. By that time it didn’t matter because Stephenville’s 24-9 run in the second quarter had the Bees up 42-27 at half time.
Despite backing off on offense, Stephenville led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter 66-43
Early on the Bees were working the ball to the inside to post Alee McClendon (10 points) who responded with six first-quarter points. When the Lady Blues began to focus their defense on McClendon, Hannah Bernays (11 points) and Jaci Morton made them pay. Bernays dialed two long-distance shots and had eight first-quarter points.
Morton evenly paced her game-high 18 points over four quarters, and her hard-charging drives drew lots of fouls as she netted 8-9 free throws.
Madison Gilder (11 points) was a big spark during the Bees’ second-quarter domination with six points that included a three-pointer. When Kassidy Nowak wasn’t whipping the ball for an assist, she was scoring too and had 10 points.
Stephenville advance to the Regional Quarterfinals to play Argyle (27-7) Tuesday in a 6 p.m. game at Aledo High School. Argyle defeated Burkburnett 60-32 to advance to face the Bees.
Scoring—Kayle Dahl 1, Madison Gilder 11, Kassidy Nowak 10, Hannah Bernays 11, Jaci Morton 18, Landry Withers 2, Alee McClendon 10, Autumn Nichols 4, Jade Wilson 2.