By BRAD KEITH
Sport: STEPHENVILLE (January 6, 2014) — No. 9 Stephenville got everything it could have wanted out of its final pre-district test Tuesday night at Gandy Gym. Except a win.
No. 18 Robinson outscored Stephenville 8-4 in overtime, defeating the No. 9 Honeybees 46-42 in a battle of Class 4A heavyweights. The Honeybees begin District 6-4A play at Brownwood Friday evening.
Stephenville senior guard Cassidy Cline swiped the ball from Robinson with seven seconds left in regulation and took off the other way in transition. Two Lady Rockets caught up to Cline in the paint and forced her to miss a layup before a buzzer-beating put-back attempt by Lariat Larner spun off the rim to send the game to overtime at 38-38.
Stephenville head coach Alan Thorpe argued the lack of whistle on Cline’s attempt in transition, but to no avail. The no-call isn’t what hurt the Honeybees the most, however. They had 25 turnovers against Robinson’s pressure defense, and when they did navigate the press and set up in the half court, they couldn’t solve the Lady Rockets’ zone or shoot them out of it.
The game was also tied 18-18 at the intermission, and neither team led by more than a possession from the six-minute mark of the third quarter until 1:26 remained in overtime.
A left baseline jumper by Lyndi Graham and a steal and layup by Larner gave Stephenville a 22-18 lead early in the third, but Robinson answered with a 3-pointer, and the margin remained three points or less the rest of regulation. Graham led Stephenville with 12 points.
Robbi Elliott hit two Stephenville free throws to tie the game in the final minute of the third, but Robinson answered with a basket inside for a 30-28 edge. Cline’s 75-foot heave at the buzzer hit the backboard and the front of the rim but bounced away.
Elliott converted a second-chance basket off an offensive rebound to tie the game in the opening seconds of the fourth. Stephenville eventually grabbed a 35-34 lead on a 3-pointer by Breanna Wooley with 5:53 left, the last points until Robinson scored in the paint with 3:17 on the clock. Wooley hit three from downtown and scored 11.
Wooley took an assist from Cline ripped the chords on another triple and a 38-36 Stephenville lead with 1:29 left in regulation, but Robinson tied it again – and finished the regulation scoring – by hitting two foul shots with 1:07 remaining.
Robinson had two turnovers and Stephenville one in the final minute. The Lady Rockets missed their only look at the basket, and Stephenville went 0-3 from the field. Robinson also struggled at times with turnovers, committing 17.
Stephenville trailed throughout overtime. Robinson won the tipoff by batting the ball into its front court and quickly hit a layup an uncontested layup.
A free throw by Cline made it a one-point game with 3:23 still to go, but there was no scoring until 1:44 was left when Robinson hit a foul shot for a 41-39 edge. The Lady Rockets then used a stop and another pair from the stripe to lead by four with 1:26 to play.
The largest Robinson lead of the night was five after another 1-2 trip to the line, but Stephenville still had a chance after Cline banked in a desperation 3-pointer from the right wing to cut it to 44-42 with 26.65 seconds to go.
The Bees couldn’t get the takeaway they desperately needed, and were forced to foul again with 15 seconds left. Once more Robinson drained two, hitting its last four free throws to secure the victory.
Cline scored nine for Stephenville, Elliott four, Larner three, Bethanie Bouchey two and Chaviers one.
The largest lead of the game – just eight – belonged to Stephenville in the first half, but even then Robinson had an answer to make it close.
Robinson used an 11-3 run over the final six minutes of the second quarter to even the score at halftime. Stephenville had a stretch of five turnovers in six possessions against Robinson’s pressure defense, allowing the Rockets to overcome an early 15-7 hole. The Bees had 11 turnovers in the opening half.
Stephenville led 13-7 after the first quarter, highlighted by consecutive 3-pointers by Cline and Graham, both set up by dribble penetration. Chaviers attacked the basket and kicked the ball out to Cline for the first 3-pointer, and Cline paid it forward by driving and dishing to Graham for an open look from the arc.