Alan Thorpe promised his return to the bench as head girls basketball coach at Stephenville would bring an instant upgrade in intensity and full court pressure.

Both were out in full force on Saturday, as the Bees used a pressure-cooker defensive effort and an opportunistic offense to dismantle an Abilene team that won a Class 5A district championship last season, 73-36, at Gandy Gym.

The Honeybees scored easy points off Abilene turnovers for much of the opening half, jumping ahead 9-0, and eventually 24-6 before halftime.

Things never got any better for Abilene, which fell behind by 40 during the fourth.

“It was ugly at times,” Thorpe said of his team’s easy victory. “We played well early, but we weren’t executing real well in the second half, and it actually made (Abilene) look better than they were at times. Of course it’s hard to stay focused when you’re way ahead like that.”

Stephenville, now 2-0 on the young season, had three in double figures and three more with at least six points.

Brianna Bledsoe and Stephanie McNeal each scored more than 10 for the second straight outing, pouring in 17 and 14, respectively. Bethanie Young added 11, while Alex Huckabee tacked on 9, Mara Christian added 8 and Kelsey Evans scored 6.

“They were missing a 6-1 post player and that hurt them,” Thorpe said of Abilene, “but overall, I think we’re looking pretty good. We still have a lot of work to do and some areas where we have to improve, but it’s early.

The Bees, whose JV club also dominated Abilene, return to the court later this week in Godley. The freshman and JV teams will begin play in a sub-varsity tournament at GHS on Thursday. The varsity squad travels to Godley on Saturday.