The Stephenville High School boys basketball squad hit three 3-point baskets in the final 33 seconds Friday night in their battle against District 7-4A-leading Brownwood, but the Lions were able to hold on for a 71-66 victory.
The loss dropped the Yellow Jackets into a tie with Godley for the fourth and final playoff spot in the five-team district, with three regular-season games remaining.
Skylar Stilwell and Grayson Traweek combined for 40 points, with Stilwell scoring 22 and Traweek 20.
Also for the Yellow Jackets, Cody Storrs had a team-leading nine rebounds, while teammate Trace Morrison added seven.
After Brownwood hit a free throw to go up by 11 points (68-57) with 42 seconds left in the game, Storrs nailed a 3-pointer to reduce the deficit to 68-60 at the 33-second mark.
The Lions scored on a lay-in with 27 seconds left to make it a 70-60 advantage, and that proved to be their final field goal of the night.
Skylar Stilwell then launched a 3-pointer for SHS that hit the mark with 20 seconds to go, and Mason Castleberry intercepted a Brownwood pass.
The Lions made one free throw to extend their lead to 71-63, before Grayson Traweek sank another 3-point basket for the Jackets to close out the scoring in the final seconds.
The Jackets made 44 percent of their 3-point field goal attempts, hitting 8 of 18. The Liona missed 19 of their 26, for 26 percent.
“We played well. They just hit some big shots at the end and we didn’t,” SHS head coach Bill Brooks said.
Although the loss didn’t hurt their playoff chances (Mineral Wells is out of the running, at 0-6), Brooks said his Jackets 3-3 in district, 9-16 overall) were motivated to have a good performance against the rival Lions (6-0, 19-9), who had beaten the Jackets 83-52 when they met in Brownwood on Jan. 15 in the first half of district play.
“It’s Brownwood,” Brooks said. “We played well both times. (John) Wilhelm (a standout shooting guard for Brownwood) had a hot game the first time. We were able to shut him down (Friday) and keep it close.”
Reserve senior guard Krece Nowak, who had been getting considerable playing time, said before the game that he has ligament damage in his right foot and may be sidelined for about five weeks — which would effectively end his basketball season. The multi-sport standout added, however, that he hopes to return to action in time to run track for the Jackets.
The Jackets will be idle until Friday when they take on Mineral Wells (3-27).
Brooks said the Jackets are still aiming to move up in the standings, if they can win that game and also prevail in their final regular-season game Feb. 12 at second-place Glen Rose.