Honeybees head coach Ron Berry made it clear to his team following their dominating win over Everman Friday: no one game will make or break their playoff hopes.
Instead, “all of them are that way” — and this holds true for the Yellow Jackets as well.
Both teams face pivotal road games tonight at Aledo, and the rivalry will likely add to the sense of urgency felt by all four teams.
For the Honeybees (5-3 in district), Friday losses by Joshua and Crowley have cleared a path to another district title. In their 72-44 whipping of the Everman Lady Bulldogs, the Honeybees also showed they had the talent to complete such a run.
Each and every player contributed to the win, Berry said. What’s more, the Honeybees received a scoring lift from freshman reserves Bethanie Young and Kelsey Evans and other role players, taking some of the load off of the team’s big three: Trisha Tuck, Holly Feist and Lindsay Bloemhof.
But in order to run their winning streak to two games, the Honeybees will need to both lock down the Ladycats’ top scorers and find good shots for themselves.
“You have to score a lot of points to beat (Aledo),” Berry said.
Hannah Christian, Leslie Harris and Taylor Hays are all capable of putting up impressive numbers, Berry said. Christian in particular is skilled at creating her own shot off the dribble.
While the Honeybees still have a shot at winning district, the Yellow Jackets (3-4 in district) are in serious need of a win to snap their four-game skid to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The race for District 8-4A’s third slot seems to have narrowed to Stephenville, Mineral Wells (5-2) and Cleburne (4-3). Barring an unlikely collapse, Crowley (7-0) and Everman (6-1) have the first two slots locked up.
In their previous meeting, the Yellow Jackets bombarded the Bearcats with exceptional outside shooting. In the decisive 79-60 win, Stephenville hit 52.2 percent from beyond the arc, and knocked down about 60 percent of their shots.
But as the Yellow Jackets’ schedule grew more difficult — their three district wins have come against teams with a combined district record of 3-18 — they’ve been hard pressed to get so many good looks at the basket.
Against Everman, Stephenville hit 27.3 percent of their three-point attempts, and about 48 percent of their shots overall. The first statistic, in particular, took a dive as the Yellow Jackets were forced into putting up long shots to fuel a late comeback attempt.
The Bearcats, who appeared stunned by Stephenville’s continuous hot shooting in the earlier game, will almost certainly be guarding the perimeter closer and forcing the Yellow Jackets to earn their buckets inside.
The girls tip off at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 8.