Stephenville High School picked up 11 points from Mikayla Diaz and 10 from Kassidy Nowak Monday night but the visiting Merkel Lady Badgers spoiled the season debut of new Honeybee head coach Jason Hodges with a 52-35 victory.

The Honeybees were outscored 13-9 in the opening quarter and 19-10 in the second, giving them a 32-19 halftime deficit in the game, which played in the Henderson Junior High School gym. The SHS volleyball team was using the high school gym for practice in preparation for Tuesday night’s regional quarterfinal playoff match against Argyle in Weatherford at the Ninth Grade Center.

Merkel, a Class 3A team, is now 2-0 after opening its regular-season schedule last week with an overwhelming 59-18 win over Coleman on Nov. 9.

“I knew it would be a tough game,” said Hodges, who came to SHS after his most recent head coaching job with Midlothian Heritage. “We just didn’t have the kids ready to play.”

Hodges said he had taken note that although his players had seemed to play loose in their preseason scrimmages, “when they hit the floor I felt I could see they were uncomfortable. Their pressure bothered us a little, and we made some silly turnovers."

Other scorers for SHS were Katie McIrvin and Jade Wilson with four points each, Jettie Funderburgh with three, Zoe Birdwell with two and Dayanira Inman with one.

Alyssa White led the Lady Badgers with 15.

The 0-1 Honeybees will play their next game at 11 a.m. this Saturday at home — back in their regular environment, Gandy Gym at SHS.