Abilene Wylie (4-0) used an 11-2 run to the end of the third quarter to take the lead for good, then held off a furious Stephenville (3-3) rally in the fourth, defeating the Yellow Jackets 55-51 at Gandy Gym Tuesday night.
Wylie had another 11-2 run in the first half, using it to turn an early 8-3 deficit into a 14-10 lead. Stephenville overcame that surge, using a second-chance-basket, steal and buzzer-beating layup in transition - all from Malik Taylor - to take a 20-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.
But Wylie made another big run in the third, starting just after Grayson Sweet found Juder Stidham alone in the left corner for three and a 28-26 Stephenville lead. The Bulldogs used a reverse layup, an old-fashioned three-point play, three free throws and an eight-foot runner at the buzzer to forge the run, which ended in a 37-30 Bulldog lead entering the fourth.
The Wylie advantage was stretched to as many as nine in the final stanza, but that's when Sweet got hot and the Jackets made a late run.
Sweet poured in 13 points in the fourth and 21 for the game. He hit consecutive 3-point bombs to pull the Jackets within three with 32 seconds still to play, but they proved to be Stephenville's final points until Malik Taylor drained a deep one from the left wing just as time expired.
Wylie hit four free throws before Taylor's three, stretching its advantage back to seven in the closing seconds.
Stephenville, which travels east for the Van Tournament this weekend, also picked up double-digit scoring from Taylor with 11. Arbnor Kelmendi and Juder Stidham both netted eight, and Colby Brandon added three.