GRANBURY - Stephenville (8-2) hit nine three-point bombs in the first half to build a big lead and held off Lubbock Cooper 61-49 on opening day of the Mike Brown Classic at the Wann Center Thursday evening.
Cooper, ranked as high as No. 12 in one Class 3A poll, hoped to rely on its full court pressure, but Stephenville wouldn't allow it.
"We did a real good job of handling their press," Stephenville head coach Alan Thorpe said. "We kept beating it and they kept having to call timeout. They used three timeouts in the first quarter and by the end of (the first) they were out of the press."
The early barrage was enough for the Honeybees to build a 15-point halftime lead that would eventually grow to 20 in the third quarter. Cooper went back to its press late in the game, and Stephenville went into a stall. The final score made the contest appear closer than it was.
Thorpe said one of the keys for his team was playing smarter defensively.
"We were being just as aggressive as we have been all year, but we were doing it smarter," he said. "We weren't reaching in and committing silly fouls. We had 20 and 26 fouls our last two games and (Thursday) we only had one in the first half."
Brianna Bledsoe led Stephenville with 20 points while Alex Huckabee was right on her heels with 16. Kelsey Evans had 13 for the Bees while Mara Christian added eight. The rest of the scoring came from Gaby Lazarine and Becca Emmons with two points each.
The Bees, who received a bye through the first round of the tournament before beating Cooper in the second round, are now waiting for their next opponent to be determined.
Arlington Seguin and Southlake Carroll played Thursday night with the winner meeting Keller Fossil Ridge this morning. Stephenville plays the winner of that match-up at 8:30 p.m. tonight, also at Wann Center.