Seeking their second victory over a Top 10 District 7-4A basketball opponent in as many outings, the Brownwood Lady Lions instead went scoreless over the final 2:35 as the No. 6 Stephenville Honeybees roared back for a 50-48 victory Tuesday night at Warren Gym.
The Lady Lions (14-13, 1-2), who defeated then-No. 10 Glen Rose, 32-30 in the league opener, only to fall at Godley, 50-48, this past Friday, played their third consecutive game decided by a bucket.
“Our effort was outstanding, but we let it slip away at the end,” said Lady Lions head coach Heather Hohertz. “We can’t go brain dead at that point of the game. We didn’t stay mentally tough, we turned the ball over too much.”
The Lady Lions received perhaps the best 1-2 inside punch in a game in Hohertz’s 10-year tenure, as Matyha Thompson and Kenya Barnes combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds. But when Thompson fouled out with 2:28 left, with Brownwood still in front 48-40, the entire complexion of the game changed.
“Kenya played her best game all year long,” said Hohertz of the post who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. “We challenged her and she really stepped up.
“But it hurt us when Matyha fouled out because she had 21points and eight rebounds. Those two absolutely played their tails off.”
Thompson had scored six of Brownwood’s 11 fourth-quarter points when she exited, and Stephenville’s Jayci Morton then took over, turning steals into either lay ups or free throws as Brownwood’s lead dwindled.
A missed three-point attempt by the Lady Lions with just under 90 seconds left turned into a quick basket at the other end for Stephenville, trimming the deficit to 48-44. Brownwood continued to struggle the rest of the way with the Honeybees’ relentless pressure as the Lady Lions were unable to instigate a foul, or maintain possession.
Alee McClendon scored off an offensive rebound following a steal with 45 seconds left to knot the score at 48, then Morton was fouled after a steal and converted the go-ahead free throw as Stephenville took a 49-48 edge with 24 seconds to go. The lead was the first for the Honeybees since the 6:38 mark of the third period.
“They just put pressure on us,” Hohertz said. “We had people that didn’t want the ball when they needed to have the ball. They took away Mallory (Garcia) and everyone seemed to run away. We have to step up and somebody’s got to want the ball in their hands.”
With nine seconds left, the Lady Lions still had a chance to snatch back the victory, but a three-point attempt was off target and Stephenville pulled down the rebound.
Aside from Thompson and Barnes, Garcia and Hadley Monroe were the only other Lady Lions to score, knocking down one three-pointer each.
The Lady Lions overcome an early 7-0 deficit to take a 13-12 lead into the second period. Stephenville owned a 25-21 halftime advantage, but Brownwood moved into front, 37-33, after three frames.
For Stephenville, Morton finished with 20 points including 13 in the fourth period, Hannah Bernays added nine and McClendon and Kassidy Nowak contributed six points apiece.
The Lady Lions will wrap up the first half of district play at Mineral Wells — a 41-17 loser to Godley Tuesday night — at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We have to handle the travel and be ready to go,” Hohertz said. “We can’t show up and go through the motions like we did at Godley. We’re going to have to play at the level we did tonight or even higher.”