By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE – Time and again, Stephenville made a charge.
And just as you would expect from the second ranked team in the state, Abilene Wylie stayed poised and responded. Every time.
Brittni Brewer poured in 21 points and London Weilert added 14 as Wylie denied Stephenville’s strong upset bid, 52-46, to secure the District 6-4A championship.
Stephenville remains tied with Brownwood for second in the district. Wylie has a perfect league mark, while Stephenville and Brownwood split their two showdowns. The Honeybees visit Graham in their 6-4A finale Tuesday, and if they and Brownwood are still tied afterwards, the coaches will determine whether to meet for a one game playoff or to flip a coin to determine the second and third seeds from the league.
Brewer and Weilert were at their best in crunch time for Wylie, ranked second by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and fifth by the Texas Girls Coaches Association. Brewer scored 15 in the second half, Weliert eight in the fourth quarter.
Stephenville was led by Breanna Wooley with three 3-pointers and 10 points, Bethanie Bouchey with nine and Kali Smith eight, all in the third.
Smith finished the third with a buzzer beater to give Stephenville a 36-34 edge, but Weilert provided a spark for Wylie to start the fourth. She scored a second-chance to tie the game on the opening possession of the final period, poked away a ball that was stolen at the other end, then draining a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 39-36 lead.
Brewer scored in the paint before Stephenville hit two of four free throws. Brewer then grabbed an offensive rebound and banked in the put back, and Weilert stole the ball and knocked down a breakaway layup to make it 45-38.
A free throw and a baseline jumper by Bethanie Bouchey brought the Bees within four before yet another put back by Brewer and a bank shot by Makala Mosely pushed Wylie’s advantage to 49-41 with just more than a minute to play.
Bayleigh Chaviers sunk a right corner 3-ball to give Stephenville a glimmer of hope, and after Weilert made one of two Wylie free throws, Bouchey hit two to cut it to 50-46 but only eight seconds remained. Brewer ended the scoring from the line for Wylie.
It was the second time the teams played close, and the second time Wylie prevailed. The Bulldogs won 48-42 on January 20 in Abilene.
The Bees made a statement early on in Friday’s rematch, grabbing a 10-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Wooley’s sandwiched Stephenville 3-pointers on consecutive possessions around a long ball by Weilert for Wylie, and Stephenville led 16-12 early in the second.
But Wylie responded with arguably its strongest stretch of the night. The Bulldogs’ tenacious zone defense prevented Stephenville from hitting a single field goal over the final 4:20 of the half, and they also turned it on offensively with an 11- 1 run for a 23-17 lead at halftime.
Wylie scored first in the second half for an eight-point lead, before Stephenville finally cut loose offensively. The Bees scored 19 points in the third quarter after tallying 17 in the first half. Smith hit two 3-pointers before finishing the quarter with a runner for the lead entering the fourth. Wooley also hit once from the arc in the third, and Robbi Elliott did all her scoring with four free throws.
Chaviers finished with six – all in the second half – for tephenville, while Cline had three and Pack contributed two.