By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 12, 2016) — It was not the final pre-district tuneup first year Stephenville head coach Bill Brooks was looking for.
His Yellow Jackets had a tough time solving Eastland’s strong man-to-man defense in a 54-42 loss at Gandy Gym Tuesday evening.
After trailing 30-17 at halftime, Stephenville showed signs of life with the first five points of the third quarter, but Eastland answered with eight straight points as part of a 13-4 run to the end of the period for a 43-26 lead entering the fourth.
Stephenville could inch no closer than 49-39 following an Easton Jones right wing 3-pointer with 2:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Eastland came out of a Stephenville timeout and re-established control by running off 40 seconds of clock then kissing one off the glass in the paint for a 12 point margin with 1:50 left.
Josh Nowell was the only Yellow Jacket in double figures with 10, while Coby Vandenberg scored eight in the paint. Evan Moody netted five, Cameron Frazier, Zoey Kendall and Mason Holstein added four each, Mason Yoes and Jones each contributed three and Malachi Taylor two.
Cameron Frazier hit a left corner long ball to make it 52-42 with 44 seconds left and Brooks again called time, but it was too little, too late.
Eastland jumped ahead 9-4 in the opening minutes, and finished the first quarter with a 3-pointer for a 15-8 lead. The Mavericks outscored the Jackets 15-9 in a similar second quarter.
Stephenville begins 6-4A district play at Mineral Wells Friday. Tipoff is approximately 8 p.m. following a 6:30 p.m. girls contest.