By BRAD KEITH
CISCO (February 20, 2018) — It was dog fight, after all, so it went the way of way of the dogs.
Abilene Wylie took control with a 12-2 run to end the first half and Mary Lovelace scored 16 points to ensure they would maintain that control in a 63-45 win over Stephenville in a Region I-4A quarterfinal.
The Lady Dogs claimed one of the coveted spots in the Region I-4A tournament this weekend at Lubbock Christian University. Stephenville is eliminated after reaching round three of the UIL state playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
Tesslie Baker turned an offensive rebound into an ‘And-1’ then converted it into a 3-point play, tying the score at 21-21, but the rest of the half went Wylie’s way including a 3-pointer buried by Lovelace with 2.9 seconds remaining.
Stephenville shut out Wylie over the first 3:30 of the thirs but the Honeybeed scored just two points during that stretch themselves and still trailed 33-25. They shaved snother four points off that lead before the most crucial quick swing of thd night.
Down 36-32, Stephenville used ball movement to get Hannah Bernays ab open 3-point look from the left corner but it just rimmed out before an offensive rebound and quick kickout gave Jayci Morton a similar and even more open look trom the right corner but she eas also just inches off. Wylie renounded the second miss and went on a fast break and found a trailer open in the wings for a 3 that went down and pushed the margin to seven.
Making matters worse, Stephenville missed a quick jumper in the closing seconds then committed a rebounding foul. In the bonus, Wylie took a free walk up the court and two free throws made it 41-32 enering the fourth.
Stephenville cut it to 44-36 when Hailey Martin lost her defender and found room in the right corner. But as she was releasing a 3-point try that swooshed through the net, a whistle was blown for an illegal pick on her defender. Wylie scored eight of the next 10 for a 52-38 advantage and free throws plus a couple easy breakaways once the Bees got into a rush resulted in a final score not indicative of how Stephenville contested.
Wylie similarly defeated Midlothian Heritage, a rival to Stephenville in Disrict 8-4A, in a 63-46 area-round contest at Dublin. The Bulldogs will compete Friday evening in one of two regional semifinals. The regional final at LCU is Saturday afternoon.
Stephenville blitzed Mineral Wells 63-32 in bi-district and overcame an early 14-3 deficit to top Burkburnett 56-46 in the area round. The Bees finished third in 8-4A and gave head coach Alan Thorpe his 500th career victory this season.