Stephenville head boys basketball coach Mike Dacus was hoping for a balanced scoring effort early in the season. The Yellow Jackets granted his wish in the opener against Azle Tuesday.
Four Jackets scored in double figures to lead Stephenville past the Hornets, 75-60, at Gandy Gym.
Cody Stevens poured in 15 points while Garrett Autrey had 14, Victor Martinez scored 11 and JT Autrey tacked on 10.
“That’s what I was hoping for was to get a lot of guys involved in the scoring, and we did a good job,” Dacus said. “Having four in double figures is what we’re looking for.”
Stephenville’s slim bench was tested in the first half when starters Martinez and Autrey got into foul trouble.
“Victor and Garrett got into some early foul trouble and weren’t able to play much in the first half,” said Dacus. “But they got back in there and did a good job for us, and while they were out some other guys were able to pick up some experience so it didn’t end up being all that bad.”
The Jackets were able to weather the storm without Martinez and Garrett Autrey, maintaining the same six-point advantage heading into halftime that they held at the end of the first. Stephenville was up 14-8 after one and 31-25 at the break.
Azle cut one point off the lead in the third before a faster-paced fourth quarter allowed Stephenville to cut loose for 31 points.
“(Azle) went into a half-court trap and was running two or three guys at the ball,” Dacus said. “We did a good job in the fourth quarter of finding the open man before getting trapped. We also did a better job of getting the ball inside, which we should have done all night.”
The fourth was the Hornets’ highest-scoring period as well, but 21 points weren’t enough to keep pace with the trap-breaking Jackets.
Azle was led by returning second-team all-state standout John Derr, a senior who scored 23 points. Seven of those came in the fourth when the game took on a frenzied pace with Stephenville remaining in control.
Behind the double-digit scorers for the Yellow Jackets, Nic Young and Clint Warren each added seven and Justin Lanham had six.
Stephenville visits Belton at 7 p.m. on Friday. The contest is part of the weekend-long Central Texas Showcase being hosted by Belton High School.