Stephenville used a 13-2 push to the end of the third quarter to jump ahead early and Dally Friedrich landed three-point daggers on consecutive possessions late to as the Honeybees (2-1) knocked off 2A titan Jim Ned 56-40 at Gandy Gym Tuesday night.
Jim Ned is ranked No. 1 in the preseason Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll and No. 3 by the Texas Girls basketball Association. Stephenville is sixth in the TABC 3A poll and unranked by the TGCA.
The big surge to the end of the first put Stephenville on top 16-6. The Bees never trailed after Merideth Culpepper scored for a 5-4 lead.
Breyana Diaz led the Honeybees with 13 points and had four during the first-quarter surge, when Caitlin Cline scored four of her six
Stephenville turned the ball over 22 times against Jim Ned's pressure defense, but the Honeybees also forced 19 turnovers from the Lady Indians.
"They're really good at pressuring the ball; that's they're known for. If you play Jim Ned, you're going to turn the ball over," said Stphenville head coach Alan Thorpe, who has led the Honeybees to the 4A regional quarterfinals each of the last two years. "Several of our turnovers, especially in the first half, came from girls who were just playing volleyball (three) days ago."
The Bees handled the pressure in the third quarter, giving the ball away just once and stretching their lead from eight to 15 when it was 44-29 entering the fourth.
Culpepper hit a 3-ball and added a fast-break layup early in the third, and Sheridan Stokes scored a breakaway layup with 20 seconds on the clock, and after a steal added a contested lay-in just with eight ticks left to extend the advantage to 15.
Culpepper and Stokes scored 13 and 11, respectively.
Friedrich, who made it four in double figures by scoring 11, hit her big fourth-quarter triples just 30 seconds apart, the last making it 52-35 - the Bees' biggest lead - with 4:26 left.
Stephenville also picked up two points from Jaynelle Nowell and one by Leslie Billings.
Stokes, the District 8-4A MVP last season, Billings, who led the team in three different stat categories, and Tiara Green, each joined the team Monday after helping the Stephenville volleyball team to the 3A Region I finals.
"Those girls just need court time," said Thorpe. "We know what they're capable of, and we're excited to have everyone together. We just have to get them back into basketball form and get our chemistry going and that just takes time."
The Bees are off until Monday when they visit reigning 2A state champ Brock at 6:30 p.m.