Stephenville wanted tough opponents to prepare for district play, and that’s just what the Honeybees found at the 61st annual Whataburger Basketball Tournament at Saginaw High School this weekend.
Saturday was a rough day as the #6 Bees (15-5) dropped their second game of the day against #1 Levelland (18-1) 46-44.
The contest also marked the varsity coaching debut of coach Kristi Mayes who was filling in for head coach Alan Thorpe who was attending a wedding.
Both teams showed the effects the Christmas break layoff combined with coming in and playing more than one game on the same day, and it led to poor play from both squads.
For Levelland, it was fouling early and sending the Bees to the free throw line where they scored eight of their ten first-quarter points. For the Bees, it was turning the ball over in the second half that led to a loss.
The Bees managed to take a 21-18 lead into the half-time locker room thanks to Hannah Bernays burying a three-point shot as time expired. Stephenville only made four field goals in the first half and made the most of their trips to the free throw line with 11-of-12 shooting.
The trips to the charity stripe flip-flopped in the second half with the Bees going to the line only twice while Levelland netted ten free throws over the final two quarters. Entering the fourth quarter Levelland’s trips to the line just added to the Bees’ woes as they trailed 31-29 and then got down by five points.
“This is a great tournament,” coach Mayes said. “It’s super tough! It’s been good for us and
Turnovers and the resulting scrambling on defense enabled Levelland to score nine of their 15 fourth-quarter points at the free throw line, and it kept Stephenville at bay.
Bernays led the Bees’ offensive attack with eleven points, and Jayci Morton had ten. Also adding to the Stephenville totals were Kassidy Nowak and Alee McClendon with 6 points each, Autumn Nichols had 5, Madison Gilder netted four, and Mikayla Diaz scored two.
The Bees will round out their tournament play early Saturday morning with an 8 a.m. tip off against Dodd City. Stephenville opens District 7 4-A play on the road against Mineral Wells January 4 in a 1:30 p.m. contest.