By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
December 11, 2020
Stephenville opened with a 15-2 first quarter and never looked back as the Yellowjackets improved to 8-1 on the year with a 67-41 road win against Mineral Wells Friday.
Since dropping their first contest against Midlothian Heritage, the Yellowjackets have ripped off eight straight wins, and Coach Kia McCarty was happy with his team’s performance against the Rams.
“We did a good job in the paint and gave ourselves good looks with our second shots,” McCarty said. “We hung our hat on our defense tonight.”
Everything else Stephenville “hung up” was on offense as Brady Morton, Kyle Styron, Trace Morrison, Grayson Trayweek, Kelvin Ong, Tanner McCarley, and Aidan Espinoza combined for 15 first-quarter points while putting a wall around the Jackets’ bucket when on defense.
“We did a great job of controlling the offensive glass with our rebounding,” McCarty said.
Espinoza poured it on in the second quarter and third quarters as he evenly netted 16 points over the two frames and ended up the night’s scoring leader with 20 points.
After leading 30-10 at halftime, Trayweek sparked Stephenville’s hottest output of the night, scoring two of his three long-range dialups, and he had 11 of his 14 points in the third quarter. The Jackets also played a more controlled game after coming out of the locker room.
“Once we came out of our lull, we played really well,” McCarty said. “I told the guys we needed to slow things down so we could regroup and play our style of basketball.”
With Espinoza powering his way to the bucket through several defensive hackings, the Jackets were warriors inside the paint. If opponents are willing to collapse two players on the big post, there are plenty of options available to McCarty.
“We improvise a lot, and it can pay off in a big way,” McCarty said. “We just have to avoid the tendency of trying to speed things up too much where we get into a lull and have turnovers.”
The Jackets’ attack kept the Rams off-balance for most of the second half, and Mineral Wells send Stephenville the free-throw line eight times for 11 charity points.
McCarley was next on the scoring list with 8 points, Hayden Hoelscher 7, Styron 7, Morrison 6, Remington Pack 2, Morton 2.
The Jackets return home Tuesday to Gandy Gym for a 7 p.m. game against Lake Worth before traveling against Dec. 18 to Joshua.