Stephenville struggled with its consistency as the Yellowjackets suffered a buzzer-beater loss to Rider as the Raiders snatched a 46-44 win in Wichita Falls Tuesday.
The Jackets struggled to stop the Raiders’ outside game in the first quarter before holding Rider to just six second-quarter points to take a 24-21 lead at the half.
Despite their struggles to find consistency, Stephenville led most of the second half, and the Jackets had a six-point lead in the fourth quarter. That advantage melted after three straight trips down the court resulted in two traveling calls and a missed shot.
During the Jackets’ funk, Rider benefited from a three-point play via a foul and 9th long-range shot the Raiders put up on the scoreboard.
Down by three points with 21 seconds to play, Stephenville worked the perimeter in front of its bench and left it to Grayson Traweek to take the game-tying shot, which he nailed from a foot beyond the top of the arc with slightly more than five seconds remaining in play.
With more than half their points coming from three-point range, the Raiders switched up their tactics beat the left side of the Jackets defense to score inside at the buzzer.
Despite the loss, Coach Kia McCarty was happy with the way the Jackets played defense.
“Whenever you can come in and control a 5-A team that is well known for scoring, you have to be happy with holding them to 46 points, “McCarty said. ”But, you also need your offense to show up.”
McCarty pointed to how the Jackets clean up some of their mistakes.
“We were carrying a 6-8 point lead and got into our comfort offense where we are working at killing the clock rather than smashing on the gas,” McCarty said. “Then we turn over the ball a couple of times, and they get three the hard way and hit another of their big shots.”
While it didn’t turn out to be a game-winner, McCarty was pleased with how the Jackets worked their game-tying shot to Traweek.
“Grayson hit the biggest shot of the night for us on that play, but we didn’t take care of business right there at the end,” McCarty said.
Traveling for a road game during the Christmas break is part of McCarty’s plan to help the Jackets “clean up” their game. Stephenville certainly had the opportunity to sharpen its weapons with the Jackets’ next four games, including two state-ranked teams before district play gets underway.
Traweek led the Jackets’ scoring against Rider with 13 points while Aiden Hernandez had 10, Lyle Styron 8, Tanner McCailey 6, Kallen Kimbrough 5, Kalvin Ong 2.