By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (February 9, 2016) — Stephenville used a balanced scoring effort and high-pressure defense to rout Graham after a close first half Tuesday, winning 52-38 in the district finale for both teams.
Stephenville is the No. 3 seed from 6-4A and faces Wichita Falls Hirschi or Vernon in the opening round of the Region I-4A playoffs. The bi-district game is already set for 6 p.m. next Tuesday, February 16, at Breckenridge High School.
Jaycee Morton hit a key 3-pointer to give Stephenville a 34-27 lead late in the third quarter, and it remained that way until she split two defenders and finished off an aggressive drive early in the fourth.
Mikayla Hobbs then converted a second-chance bucket for the first double-digit lead of the game. Payton Wall scored the next four Honeybee points before a dagger 3-ball by Kali Smith made it 45-31 with 4:29 left.
The lead continued to grow, reaching 15 on the last of three 3-pointers by Smith, 16 on a put back by Kaitlyn Pierce and ultimately 52-34 on a second-chance hoop by Emily Brandon
Smith scored 11 to lead five Stephenville players with at least six points. Bayleigh Chaviers scored 10, Morton nine, Hobbs six, Liz Pack four, Brandon two and Pierce two.
Stephenville grabbed the lead for good in the final seconds of the first half. Chaviers scored five straight, three on a driving runner with a foul with 15 seconds left, then two more before the buzzer after Graham traveled into a 3-point try at the other end.
The Honeybees led 23-21 at intermission thanks to Chaviers’ finish to a second quarter of back and forth runs. Stephenville scored eight straight for a 18-14 lead. Wall tied the game with a 17 foot baseline jumper with assist from Liz Pack, then Kali Smith gave Stephenville its first lead. It was 18-14 after a steal and transition bucket by Morton.
Graham answered with seven straight points — including a 3-pointer to retake the lead — before Chaviers dominated the final seconds of the half.
Stephenville started slow, missing four layups and committing a couple ugly turnovers as Graham built a 12-8 lead after the first.