Stephenville (3-2) made big runs in each of the first three quarters and slam dunked Cleburne in the fourth for a 70-36 win at Gandy Gym Saturday afternoon.
It was the third straight win for Stephenville after opening its season with back-to-back losses to 5A opponents. SHS hosts Abilene Wylie on "Coaches for the Cure" night Tuesday. The girls begin at 6:30 p.m., the boys at 8.
Arbnor Kelmendi scored 22 points including 15 after halftime for Stephenville, which also picked up double-digit efforts from Juder Stidham with 15 and Colby Brandon with 10.
Cleburne scored seven of the first nine to begin the game and poured in seven straight in the middle of the second quarter, but those brief pushes weren't enough with Stephenville stringing together 11 straight points in the first, the first 13 of the second and eight straight in the third.
Grayson Sweet touched off the early run with a 3-pointer out of the right corner to cut the Stephenville deficit to 7-5. Juder Stidham gave SHS the only lead it would need when he made it 9-7 with a layup a minute later with 3:10 on the first quarter clock. Stidham scored the next four Stephenville points on his way to six in the quarter and 10 in the half.
Stephenville led 15-10 after one and stretched it to 28-10 with the first 13 points - six by Colby Brandon - of the second. The run ended with a transition layup by Grayson Sweet before Cleburne got its first second-quarter points with 3:32 left in the half.
Cleburne followed with a 3-pointer and a transition layup for a 7-0 run to make it 28-17, but Stephenville scored seven of the final nine for a 35-19 advantage at the break. Arbnor Kelmendi finished the first-half scoring with a right-win triple with three seconds remaining.
Kelmendi poured in 11 in the third and the Jackets stretched their advantage to 55-28 entering the fourth.
Stidham brought the crowd to its feet in the final stanza, using a two-hand breakaway slam to make it 61-32 with 4:57 left. Kelmendi finished his day with a fast-break layup and two free throws to make it 65-32.
"We had two big offensive goals in this game - be more physical and finish at the rim," said second-year Stephenville head coach Jonathan Normand. "We had a handful of offensive fouls, three of them going to the basket and one on a hard screen I thought was legal, but I'll take that trade-off if it means we're being physical and finishing the way we did (Saturday)."
The Jackets also picked up seven points from Sweet, five each from Will Holland and Garrett Cole and two each from Josh Hicks, Hayden Prosise and Malik Taylor.
The "Coaches for the Cure" event Tuesday includes T-shirt and baked good sales and more with all proceeds benefiting the family of Stephenville teacher and Sherri Farrow, who is battling cancer.
Normand knows personally what the night means after his wife, Stephenville teacher Carrie Normand, was the beneficiary of the inaugural event last year.
"I can't say enough about that Tuesday last year against Aledo; how much it meant not only to our family but to our basketball family as well. The kids get to be part of the experience, and that's something you can't teach in a practice or a classroom," said Normand. "Tuesday night is going to be emotional for my wife and I because we know what Mrs. Farrow and her family are going through right now.
"The way the community here and the community of Aledo came together last year and packed both sides of the gym was something special, and I can't wait to do it again Tuesday. Abilene Wylie is becoming a big rival for us in all sports, but they're also excited to put that aside in a way to be a part of something bigger than just the game."