Carla Harris Special Correspondent
Stonewall — The Stonewall girls and boys basketball teams opened their 2013-14 basketball campaigns with a pair of impressive victories over Coleman Friday night in the Murphy-Roberts Gymnasium.
In the first game, the Lady Longhorns jumped out quickly and never looked back in a 60-32 victory. They forced 32 turnovers and blew the game open in the third quarter, outscoring Coleman 24-3.
In the boys game, Stonewall cruised past the Wildcats, 55-18. The hosts picked up the defensive pressure during the third and fourth quarters, as they held Coleman to only two points in the entire second half.
Stonewall 60, Coleman 32
Stonewall got on the board very quickly, as freshman Taylor Barrett drained a 3-point shot just 10 seconds into the game. Coleman’s first score came at the 6:15 mark after two free throws by Geneva Owens. Stonewall’s lone senior, Shaina Bills, scored at the 6:00 mark to put the Lady Longhorns up 5-2. Over the next two and a half minutes, Stonewall could not get a basket to fall, but the SHS defense forced five Coleman turnovers.
With 3:30 on the clock, Sarah Monday grabbed an offensive rebound and scored for a 7-2 Stonewall lead. After another Coleman turnover, a Mackenzie Davis 3-pointer extended Stonewall’s lead to 10-2 with 3:23 to go in the quarter. Monday scored again with 40 seconds on the clock for a 12-2 advantage. Shaelee Gardner scored another bucket for Coleman to make it 12-4 after one period.
Barrett scored the first basket of the second quarter for Stonewall at the 7:23 mark for a 14-4 lead. After forcing another turnover, Bills knocked down a three to push the lead to 17-4. Owens went to the free-throw line twice over the next minute and hit three of four to cut the Stonewall lead back to 10 at 17-7. After a Stonewall turnover, Owens found Gardner for a bucket to bring Coleman within eight at 17-9 with 5:55 to go in the half.
That was as close as Coleman would get for the remainder of the game. Stonewall would only allow Coleman to score four more points for the remainder of the quarter, as the Lady Longhorns pushed their lead to 28-13. In the first half, Coleman committed 18 turnovers. Six of those turnovers were steals by Barrett.
Stonewall stepped up the defensive pressure during the third quarter, as the Lady Longhorns forced 11 turnovers and extended the lead to 52-16. Both teams brought in their substitutes with 4:20 left in the game. Coleman did outscore Stonewall 16-8 in the final stanza.
“We had way too many turnovers. We’re young, and we have lots to learn,” said Stonewall head coach Brian Davis. “Our youth showed tonight. We did some good things, but also some dumb things. It is going to be a process.”
The Stonewall roster contains one senior, two juniors and eight sophomores and freshmen. Ten of the 11 Stonewall players who suited up scored in the game.
Barrett led the way with 18 points, including a 6-of-6 effort from the free-throw line. She also had seven steals and five rebounds. Fellow freshman Mackenzie Davis also reached double figures with 12 points. She also had four steals.
Monday contributed eight points before fouling out. Tana Davis chipped in six points and had five steals and four rebounds. Justice Dees only had three points, but she pulled down 10 boards and had five steals.
Owens led Coleman in scoring with 12 points.
Stonewall 55, Coleman 18
Stonewall’s defensive pressure was just too much for Coleman. The Longhorns forced 27 turnovers and held Coleman to 8-of-35 (23 percent) shooting from the field.
The Longhorns jumped out quickly with baskets by Gage Burns and Chase Findley for an early 4-0 lead. Kendel Foster scored Coleman’s first bucket at the 6:30 mark. Tanner Dees then had a steal and went coast to coast for a 6-2 Stonewall lead with 5:45 on the clock. Dees grabbed another steal and gave the ball to Findley to push the lead to 8-2 with 4:40 left in the quarter.
Stonewall’s next basket came off a feed from Burns to Findley for a 10-2 lead at the 2:20 mark. Dees then knocked down a three to extend the lead to 13-2 with 1:40 to go. After a Coleman turnover, Findley fed Burns for a 15-2 advantage. Foster scored Coleman’s only other bucket of the quarter with 20 seconds on the clock, as Stonewall led 15-4 heading into the second period.
Coleman did outscore Stonewall 12-10 in the second. But Findley sank back-to back-buckets to end the half with Stonewall on top 25-16.
Findley scored 16 in the first half and ended up outscoring the entire Coleman team with 20 points.
Stonewall picked up the pressure even more during the third period. The hosts forced 10 Coleman turnovers in the quarter and held them scoreless. The Longhorns also tacked on 16 more points for a 41-16 lead heading into the fourth.
Coleman’s only points of the second half came with 5:15 left in the game off a bucket by Casey Mewszel. Stonewall tacked on the final 14 points.
“I thought we played extremely hard, especially defensively. That big run in the third made the difference,” Stonewall boys coach Wes Moreland said after the game.
Findley added five boards to his team-high scoring honors. Burns also reached double digits with 12 points. Burns also had four rebounds, four steals and five assists. Tanner Dees scored seven points and had four steals. Tyler Campise chipped in six points on 3-of-4 shooting. July Sawyer contributed four points during the fourth quarter on 2-of-2 shooting.