Longhorns to face district rival Brady at 1:50 p.m. Friday at BHS
The Early Longhorns remained within striking distance of the Stephenville Yellow Jackets through three quarters, but ran out of steam during the stretch run of a 60-45 loss in the opening round of the TexasBank Holiday Classic Thursday at Warren Gym.
Early trailed 21-15 after one quarter, 34-27 at halftime and 50-42 heading into the fourth period, where Stephenville owned a 10-3 scoring edge over the final eight minutes.
“We played very well,” said Early head coach Justin Moore. “It’s fun when you’re the underdog and giving bigger schools a run for their money. We all thought this was a game we could win, we just turned the ball over too much and went cold at the wrong time. Effort and hustle will never be our weakness. We are relentless and fight for every second. I'm proud of this team and we will continue to fight these last six games as we go into district battle-tested with the expectation to win a playoff spot.”
Devyn Burns led the Longhorns with 14 points trailed by 12 from John Griffin, seven from Rowdy Elkins, five each from Timmy Smithson and Brent Grooms and two points from Josh Baucom.
For Stephenville, Skyar Stilwell led all scorers with 20 points.
Down by six after one quarter, the Longhorns yielded the first seven points of the second period to fall in a 28-15 hole at the 5:01 mark. Early countered with four consecutive three-pointers — two from Griffin, one from Burns and another from Elkins — to close the gap to 28-27 with 2:38 remaining in the half.
Stephenville stopped the bleeding, however, and tallied the final six points of the half to open a seven-point cushion at the break.
In the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets again started to distance themselves from the Longhorns, stretching the lead to 15 points on three occasions — the last being 50-35 at the 1:24 mark.
Once more, the Longhorns refused to fade away, scoring the final seven points of the period, including a three-pointer banked off the glass by Smithson at the buzzer.
In the fourth period, however, Early mustered just three points — all at free throw line — as Griffin sank a pair with 4:05 left, while Burns added one with 2:14 remaining.
The Longhorns (5-11) resume tournament action at 1:50 p.m. Friday back at Warren Gym against district rival Brady.