Aledo is no Argyle, but the Bearcats’ full court pressure was still too much for Stephenville (4-11) in a 64-56 first-round game in the Underwood’s Christmas Classic at Brownwood’s Warren Gym Monday.
Aledo built a 20-4 lead early on, and though Stephenville battled back to tie the contest at halftime and lead briefly in the third and early moments of the fourth, the Bearcats were able to hold on for the win, handing the Yellow Jackets their fourth consecutive loss.
“We had trouble with their press, and they came out on fire shooting the ball,” Stephenville head coach Mike Dacus said. “Some of the shots they threw up, I’m not sure if they could make again, but they made them against us.”
The Jackets came back from the big deficit in a hurry, outscoring Aledo 12-3 to pull within seven at 23-16 when the first quarter ended. They took care of the ball and improved dramatically on the defensive end in the second, tying the score at 28-28 when the teams left the court at halftime.
Foul trouble haunted the Jackets as Cody Stevens missed significant time in the second half before fouling out with six minutes remaining. That took out the Jackets’ leading scorer for the season and second-leading scorer in the game with 12 points. Josh Jenkins led the Yellow Jackets with 14.
Aiavion Edwards also battled foul trouble the whole way, putting a dent in Stephenville’s post play in what Dacus termed “a physical game.”
Aledo hit 10 of 11 free throws in the fourth period to seal the win.
“We kept fouling different players, but they were all hitting their free throws,” Dacus said.
The Bearcats knocked down a three-point field goal to stretch their lead late, forcing the Jackets to keep fouling and sending them to the charity stripe.
Other scorers for Stephenville were Dalton Griffin (8), Justin Lanham (6), Juder Stidham (5), Edwards (4), Tyler Floyd (4), Miles Holstein (2) and Brian Picha (1).
Lanham, the starting point guard for the Jackets, returned to the lineup after being injured in the Catclaw Classic in Abilene before the Christmas break. He played about half the game.
Stephenville continued tournament play against Brownwood - a team the Jackets beat 68-44 earlier this season - in one of the late games Monday night. A complete report from that game and today’s 4:30 p.m. contest against San Angelo Lakeview will be published in the Wednesday edition of the