The coach that the state-ranked Stephenville Honeybees were facing on Saturday in the third-place game in Granbury’s Van Griffith Classic girls basketball tournament was a familiar figure — not only to the SHS players and fans, but also to the Bees’ new head coach.
It was Alan Thorpe, the former longtime head coach of the Honeybees, who is now leading the Class 5A Granbury Lady Pirates.
After winning eight consecutive games, including their first two games in the tournament Thursday, head coach Jason Hodges’ Honeybees lost to Bridgeport in the semifinals Friday, then fell to Granbury in the third-place game Saturday, 50-45.
Jason Hodges, in his first season of coaching the Honeybees, was 40 years old in June, when he was selected as the new head coach of the Honeybees. Hodges first got to know Thorpe when he was a high school student-athlete, before graduating from SHS in 1997. That was during the first of two coaching stints at the school for Thorpe, who went on to post a record of 244-134 with the Honeybees.
Although Hodges had faced off against the Thorpe-led Honeybees a few times during his recent coaching stint with Midlothian Heritage, he said it did seem “kind of weird” facing off against Thorpe in his first season coaching the Bees. The Bees —now 8-3 overall and ranked No. 15 in the state in one poll but unranked in another — were leading Thorpe’s Lady Pirates 39-34 at the end of the third quarter before Granbury outscored Stephenville 16-6 in the final quarter.
Hodges said he didn’t expect to be playing Thorpe’s squad because Granbury and SHS were on opposite ends of the tournament bracket. But Bridgeport, ranked eighth in the state in the Texas Association of Basketball coaches poll, bumped the Bees into the third-place game instead of the championship game.
“His teams are always well-prepared,” Hodges said of Thorpe. “He is a good coach and I always like matching up against him.
“We played well in spurts, but we we haven’t gotten every game together yet.”
In the deciding fourth quarter, the Bees not only failed to keep pace in field goal shooting, but also didn’t get to the free throw line enough, Hodges said.
“I just think we had a couple of lapses on defense,” Hodges said. “We just went cold in the fourth quarter.”
In the Granbury game, Alee McClendon led SHS in scoring with 13 points, followed by Kassidy Nowak with eight and Jaylee Matthews with 7. Mikayla Diaz and Jettie Funderburgh added five each, while Landri Withers scored three and Zoe Birdwell had three.
In their semifinal loss to Bridgeport Friday, Diaz led the offense with 11 points, followed by McClendon with eight, Withers with seven, Nowak and Funderburgh with six each and Matthews with four.
On the first day of the tournament, Thursday, the Bees had opened with a 54-42 win over Keller Fossil Ridge in the opening round, then beat Burleson Centennial 42-37 later that day. Top scorers from those games were in Saturday’s E-T.
The Honeybees are scheduled to play next at home against Gatesville in a non-district contest on Tuesday. (varsity at 6:30 p.m.)
Next, they will be in a tournament in Fredericksburg, Thursday through Saturday. Their first game Thursday is set for noon Thursday against 12th-ranked Liberty Hill.