By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (February 2, 2016) — Mineral Wells gave Stephenville all it could handle until just before the two-minute mark of the first half Tuesday.
Then three whistles changed everything. And it changed in the Honeybees’ favor, helping them gather the momentum that would ultimately carry them to a 64-51 win in a 6-4A contest at Gandy Gym.
Stephenville was awarded six free throws after a rebounding foul and two technical fouls on the same Mineral Wells player. She pushed a Stephenville player after the initial foul call, and was mysteriously charged the second technical and ejection as the referee explained the original technical to her coach.
Smith buried all six foul shots, part of a 9-0 run to end the half with Stephenville ahead 30-20.
The Honeybees had all the momentum, and they made sure to keep it early in the second half, stretching the run to 16-0 for a 37-20 lead by the time Mineral Wells called a desperation timeout less than three minutes into the third.
Mineral Wells answered with nine straight points over the next three minutes and change, cutting the Stephenville lead to eight. That was as close as it would get, however, with freshman Jaycee Morton scoring in the paint to stop the bleeding for Stephenville.
Morton’s bucket was followed by a pair of Mineral Wells free throws, but Ebony Green drained a 3-pointer then Bayleigh Chaviers made a free throw after a steal and foul in transition before Mineral Wells foul shots made it 45-32 after three.
Stephenville kept the momentum rolling in the fourth, with two Emily Brandon 3-pointers off-setting a technical foul on Stephenville head coach Alan Thorpe, who said nothing in response to a call against his team, and appeared to receive the tech for the way he looked at the ref, who had warned him in the third quarter. The same official warned the Mineral Wells coach earlier in the game and called the earlier technicals.
It was 52-39 after the second by Brandon, and Stephenville was ahead by 11 the rest of the way, finally taking their largest lead of the game – 65-46 – with a 6-0 run that featured two buckets by Payton Wall and a pair of free throws by Chaviers.
Smith finished with 16 to lead a balanced Stephenville scoring performance. Liz Pack added 10, Wall nine, Chaviers eight, Skylar Chipman eight, Brandon six, Ebony Green four, Morton two and Kailtyn Pierce one.
The Honeybees visit district leader Abilene Wylie at 6:30 p.m. Friday.