GLEN ROSE — The ninth-ranked Stephenville Honeybees topped the Glen Rose Lady Tigers 38-31 Tuesday in the first of their two key District 7-4A basketball showdowns.

The defending district champion Lady Tigers (22-4), previously ranked as high as third in one state poll, dropped their district opener on the road in Brownwood, and are now 0-2 in league play. They are now No. 12 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association rankings and 17th in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches poll.

Coach Alan Thorpe’s Honeybees moved up to 18-6 on the season and 2-0 in district. They are No. 9 in the TABC poll and 13th in the TGCA rankings.

“It was a big win,” Thorpe said of the road win. “We always try to steal one on the road. Winning at their place is a great win.”

Jayci Morton buried two free throws in the final minute of Tuesday’s game, crushing the Lady Tigers’ hopes of rallying after Stephenville had struggled from the foul line earlier in the final quarter.

“We’re hot or cold at the free throw line,” Thorpe said. “At the Whataburger Tournament we were in the 80s (percentage) twice. It’s a pressure game, and you’ve got to hit free throws under pressure.”

Morton was the top scorer for SHS with 10 and Bernays contributed nine.

Glen Rose enjoyed a 17-10 scoring edge at the close of the first quarter, but the Honeybees held the Lady Tigers to just five in the second quarter to pull within 22-21 at halftime.

The Honeybees pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Glen Rose 12-4. After SHS held a 33-26 lead late in the game, the Honeybees pushed to within 35-31 on a 3-point bucket.

But the two free throws by Morton along with a pair from Hannah Bernays and one from Autumn Nichols was enough to keep the Lady Tigers at bay.

“We didn’t change anything defensively. We tried to quit fouling on their shots,” Thorpe said of the Honeybees’ rally after the opening quarter. “We changed up some things and got some better shots. We saw some matchups that were in our favor.”

In the junior varsity game, a last-second 3-pointer at the end of overtime gave Glen Rose a 30-29 triumph over the SHS.

The Honeybees were scheduled to play at home against Godley in another district battle. Their next game is set for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Brownwood.