By BRAD KEITH
(January 8, 2016) — Easton Jones, Darian Brown and Coby Vandenberg each reached double figures, combining for 37 points as Stephenville managed a narrow lead throughout the game then pulled away with 10 points in the final two minutes for a 61-48 win at Robinson Friday.
“We actually finished a game. We had been struggling to put opponents away and we were able to do that,” said Stephenville head coach Bill Brooks of what pleased him most from the performance. “We made free throws, which is something we have struggled with all year.”
Especially Brown, who knocked down all six of his fourth quarter charity shots and went 9-11 for the game on his way to 13 points. Stephenville was still just 14-23 from the line – only 5-12 with the exception of Brown – but the Jackets were 8-8 in the fourth quarter when Vandenberg, who scored 10, also knocked down a pair.
Jones led Stephenville with 14 points fueled by four 3-pointers. He hit three of them in the first quarter to help Stephenville to a 15 point lead.
“It’s a lot more fun when you’re playing from ahead,” commented Brooks. “Easton has been putting in a lot of extra time shooting outside of practice, and it showed with the way he shot the ball tonight. You work hard, it pays off.”
Brooks was also pleased with his team’s rebounding and defense.
“We have been emphasizing how important it is to win the rebounding war on both the offensive and defensive glass, then we went out and did that,” he said. “And we played great defense and forced takeaways that we were able to turn into points in transition, which has been another point of emphasis for us.”
Josh Nowell scored seven, Rett Dittfurth and Zoey Kendall each netted five, Evan Moody added four and Mason Yoes had two for Stephenville, which hosts Eastland Tuesday for its final pre-district tunep. Tipoff will be about 8 p.m. following junior varsity contests at 5 and 6:30.
The Jackets visit Mineral Wells next Friday for a 6-4A district opener.