By BRAD KEITH
(January 26, 2018) — Venus (20-13, 4-6) did everything it needed on its home court to upset Stephenville (15-12, 6-3) in a District 8-4A girls contest Friday.
Except get past the Wall. Payton Wall, that is.
The Stephenville senior enjoyed a career night at Venus’ expense, pouring in 19 points including an ‘And-1’ and free throw for a 38-37 Honeybee lead. They stayed in front for the remainder of the 48-43 win.
Wall also beat the buzzer in transition to end the first half, burying a shot from just inside the arc for a 20-18 Stephenville lead at intermission.
The win prevents Venus from having a shot at passing the Bees in the district standings. Stephenville is 2.5 games ahead of the Bulldogs and swept them head-to-head.
Venus did not go away quietly in the second half, especially in the third quarter when the Bulldogs pumped 17 points through the net, eight of them in a row as the ultimately led 35-32 entering the fourth.
But Wall stood tall and so did Stephenville. Wall scored five points as part of an 11-2 Honeybee run to begin the fourth, bringing them from behind to a six-point lead, their largest of the night.
Venus pulled within 44-43 on its eighth 3-pointer with 1:42 remaining, but Jayci Morton hit a pair of foul shots on the ensuing Stephenville possession.
Stephenville tipped a ball out of bounds to stop a Venus fast break, and the Bulldogs missed a 3 but were fortunate in drawing a rebound foul that was debated before being charged to Stephenville. But Venus standout Brooke Habeck, playing through pain, did not even draw iron on the front end of the 1-and-1.
Stephenville left the door open by throwing the ball away for its 11th turnover, but Habek missed a 3 and Carter got the board before Wall finally missed, rimming out a 16-footer that led to a timeout with 25 seconds remaining and the Bees still clinging to a 46-43 lead.
Stephenville got it back and missed twice but got it back as Venus couldn’t corral the rebound and lost the ball out of bounds. Jordan Carter was fouled and hit a pair from the stripe and there was finally breathing room with a 48-43 lead and 15 seconds remaining.
Habeck missed a 3-point try that then went off of Stephenville and out of bounds, but only six seconds remained and the Bulldogs couldn’t score off their final inbound play of the night.
Morton scored 10 for Stephenville, which committed just three turnovers in the second half after giving the ball away eight times before intermission. The Bees overcame shooting just 29 percent, as they were 15-51 from the floor. That included going just 4-19 on 3-point tries.
Jordan Carter scored eight points while Hailey Martin and Hannah Bernays each added three.
Venus was led by Peyton Wille with 12 points and Habeck with nine. The Bulldogs shot 37 percent – 16-43 – and committed 12 turnovers.