By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 21, 2016) — No. 12 Stephenville dug itself a quick hole with turnover and missed opportunities in the paint, but then the Honeybees relied on pressure defense to climb out of the hole just as quickly in a 49-40 win over 6A Keller Fossil Ridge Monday afternoon.
Stephenville used an 8-2 run keyed by four points in the paint by Tesslie Baker – on two nifty assists from Jayci Morton – and a 3-pointer by Hailey Martin off a no look pass to the corner from Jordan Carter, eventually tying it up at 12-12 to end the first quarter despite trailing 10-4 early on.
Payton Wall scored the first four points of the second to put Stephenville ahead for good, and the lead grew to eight before two Fossil Ridge free throws cut it to 24-18 at halftime.
More strong defense led to offense for Stephenville early in the third, with Payton Wall taking a charge on one end and assisting Hailey Martin twice for transition layups at the other, opening up a double-digit lead before the new half was even a minute old.
Fossil Ridge answered with an old-fashion 3-point play to cut its deficit to 28-21, and clawed within seven once again with under two minutes left ion the period. A put back finally cut it to five at 1:20 of the third, but Martin answered with a right corner 3-pointer off an inbound pass to make it 37-29 entering the fourth.
Ebony Green went coast-to-coast and banked in a short jumper early in the fourth to restore a double-digit lead, and Fossil Ridge couldn’t get within seven the rest of the way. The largest lead of 45-34 came when Jordan Carter got a steal, was fouled then missed the front end of a one-and-one only to grab scramble for the rebound and score a put back.
Fossil Ridge used defensive pressure to force a pair of turnovers in the back court and get within seven again in the final minute, but the Bees broke the press and Morton dumped an assist to Baker for an easy lay-up and 47-38 lead, and the Bees fought off pressure and ran off the inal seconds from there.
Martin paved the way with 16 points including nine in the third quarter, while Wall netted 12 and Baker 11. Green scored six off the bench, while Jordan Carter and Blair Landes each added two.
Stephenville is right back in action Tuesday, visiting Jacksboro at 12:30 p.m. The Bees’ first action after the Thanksgiving break comes at home against Aledo next Tuesday, beginning at 6:15 p.m.