The Everman Bulldogs are noted for their outstanding team speed, and they closed out the Stephenville Yellow Jackets exceptionally quickly Friday.
“We lost the game in the first quarter,” Stephenville head coach Mike Dacus said.
The Bulldogs (17-7, 6-1) charged out of the gate to a 31-17 lead after the first quarter, and although the Yellow Jackets (10-12, 3-4) hung with them from there on out — even outscoring Everman 39-36 in the second half — they cruised to an 83-69 win.
The Bulldogs outshot the Yellow Jackets from outside, hitting an outstanding 58 percent of their three-point shots. Dribble penetration from Everman’s lightning-quick guards created a wealth of open looks on the perimeter.
Stephenville hit six of their 22 attempts from beyond the arc, led by Trey Taylor with four.
Taylor, who was Stephenville’s second-leading scorer with 20 points, came alive in the third quarter, scoring 13 points.
Cody Davis led the team with 21, mainly on strong drives to the basket that led to free throw attempts. Davis hit 10 of 13 from the line.
Tom Ed Ramsay added 14, but was hampered by foul trouble. Jace Mills had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Dacus said the game was his team’s best since their last win, which came at home versus Joshua at the beginning of the month.
“Hopefully that’s a sign of getting back on track,” he said.
After a 3-0 start to district, the Yellow Jackets hit an especially tough stretch. They suffered losses to the district’s top two teams, Crowley and Everman, this week.
Still, the Yellow Jackets played the Bulldogs tough on their home floor, and Dacus said the game could be a “confidence booster” for his team.
“They didn’t quit, and they didn’t back off,” he said, adding that the Yellow Jackets “fought until the end.”
But, as Dacus said, the game got away from the Yellow Jackets early on. After layups from Ramsay and Davis made the score 6-4, Everman, the Bulldogs scored eight straight.
Everman’s press gave Stephenville fits initially, and though it grew less effective as the game continued, it drained the energy from the legs of Stephenville’s guards.
A putback from Bulldog reserve Kevin Smith gave the visitors a 24-12 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. Davis hit a pair of free throws and Taylor drained a three-pointer, but Everman closed the quarter with two free throws from Ryland Allen and a tip-in to go up 31-17. Allen led the Bulldogs with 19 points.
The Bulldogs scored six straight to open the second quarter, but the Yellow Jackets began to have success attacking the press and driving to the basket.
After an Everman layup made it 44-19, Stephenville went on an 8-0 run, comprising two free throws from Davis, two free throws and a layup from Ramsay and a jumper from Jared Mills.
The momentum appeared to swing to Stephenville early in the third. In one sequence, the Yellow Jackets hit consecutive three-pointers while the Bulldogs turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions.
The streak didn’t last long though, as Brodrick Walker hit a three to reawaken the Bulldogs. At the end of three quarter, Everman was up 15, 68-53.
Stephenville takes a 3-4 record into the second half of district play. Their next game is at Aledo at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The junior varsity also took a tough loss, falling 97-36. Dutch Taylor and Victor Martinez had eight points apiece. The freshman team did not play.