STONEWALL — Christie Jennings and Wes Moreland knew the defense had to be there somewhere — no matter what the scoreboard said at halftime.

Jennings’ sixth-ranked (Class A) Lady Longhorns led upstart Stuart just 37-31 at intermission, and Moreland’s Longhorns trailed the Hornets 29-24 after two periods, but both Stonewall clubs used dominant third-quarter defensive efforts as springboards to easy victories and a sweep of their Thursday doubleheader.

Cherokee Brown scored a career-high 17 points to lead four Stonewall players in double figures, and the Lady Longhorns improved to 21-1 with a 77-51 victory, then Stonewall center Bo Scribner posted his fourth straight double-double and had arguably the best all-around game by an area player this season in leading the Longhorns (12-10) to a 63-45 win in the nightcap.

GIRLS

Stonewall 77, Stuart 51

After allowing no more than 21 points in the first half in quality wins over Tupelo, Strother, Coalgate and Allen (teams with a combined record of 55-18 so far this season) to close out January, the Lady Longhorns surrendered 18 points (including four 3-pointers in five attempts) in the opening QUARTER to a Stuart club that entered the game with an 8-13 record.

“(Stuart) shot lights-out in the first half,” Jennings said. “We just didn’t show up to play defense. I told them at halftime that if they wanted to keep the uniforms they were wearing they’d better show some guts on defense.”

Stonewall managed a tie at the end of the opening period only because Kristie Byrd — who came off the bench to score 12 points — completed a four-point play with a free throw after being fouled on a 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second remaining.

Stuart followed a 6-for-8 shooting effort in the first eight minutes by going 6-for-12 in the second quarter, but Rena Serpa scored seven of her 15 points in the period to help Stonewall to its six-point halftime lead. Then the Lady Longhorns clamped down in the third quarter, limiting the Lady Hornets to just one field goal in eight tries and building a 60-37 lead heading to the fourth.

Brown (who also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals) and Stonewall’s other sophomore guard, Tesia Worcester, combined for 16 of the Lady Longhorns’ 23 third-quarter points, and Worcester — who followed her career-high 24 points in Tuesday’s win at Allen with 10 points (her third straight double-figure scoring effort) Thursday — had four of her five steals for the game in the third period and converted three of them into layups at the other end.

“Our guard play has really been good the past few games,” Jennings said after watching Brown and Worcester combine for 58 points (34 by Worcester) in their last two games. “Cherokee really played well tonight.”

Junior Felicia Logsdon, who had 20 points in the Coalgate win and 14 more against Allen, was 2-for-7 from the field and finished with just four points Thursday, but she grabbed six rebounds to share team honors with Serpa and also had seven assists, two blocked shots and steal.

“Felicia got everybody else involved tonight,” Jennings said.

Stonewall was 30-for-58 from the field and held Stuart to just five field goals in 19 attempts in the second half after the Lady Hornets hit 12 of their 20 shots before intermission.

Tilbe Peters and Cacey Sanders combined to go 6-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 17 and 12 points, respectively, to lead Stuart.

BOYS

Stonewall 63, Stuart 45

Like the Stuart girls, the visiting Hornets were red-hot in the first half, connecting on 11 of their 17 shots (including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc) and using an 11-0 run to build a 24-15 lead midway through the second quarter.

But Scribner — who finished with a career-high 27 points (on 12-of-14 shooting), 14 rebounds, six steals, four assists and a blocked shot — single-handedly outscored the Hornets, 7-3, over the final 2:10 of the half, and his steal and layup with 21 seconds remaining cut the Stuart lead to 29-24 at intermission.

“I really didn’t think they had anybody who could guard Bo,” Moreland said of the Hornets, who were without their two tallest players — twin brothers Randy and Levon Tipton — after their father was seriously injured in an accident Thursday morning. “We were settling for jump shots most of the first half, but we got the ball inside to him in the second half.”

The Longhorns, who played very little defense in Tuesday’s 84-75 loss at Allen, maintained their momentum early in the third quarter, scoring 12 straight points to grab a 36-29 on Cole Carter’s second straight basket (after an offensive rebound and assist by Scribner) with 3:25 left and limiting Stuart (10-11) to just two baskets (3-pointers by Colton Snead and Levi Reynolds) in seven attempts in the period.

“We were flat in the first half,” Moreland said. “I told them at halftime to focus on defense in the second half, and the offense would come. We got some steals that led to easy baskets in the third quarter.”

Stonewall sophomore point guard Bronson Gore, who picked up his third foul with 57 seconds left in the first quarter (and Stonewall up 12-11) and sat until halftime, returned to start the second half and had a layup and two assists during the Longhorns’ pivotal third-quarter run, and he finished with 15 points (13 in the second half), four assists and two rebounds.

“I told Bronson not to foul in the second half and to try to make something happen on offense,” Moreland said. “He’s really come along this season. He’s probably been our most consistent player all year.”

Stonewall settled for a 42-36 lead after three quarters, then, after Stuart cut it to 44-40 on a jumper by Tyler Strauss (his only shot of the game) with 6:15 left, the Longhorns scored 14 straight points in less than three minutes to put the game away. Gore had six points in the decisive run, and Brian Monroe — the Longhorns’ leading scorer for the season but just 1-for-9 through three periods and 3-for-24 from the field in Stonewall’s previous seven quarters — also had three baskets (two on assists by Scribner) and put his team up 58-40 on a layup with 3:22 remaining.

Despite his tough night shooting, Monroe was one of the leaders of the Stonewall defense in the second half and finished with five steals and two assists. Carter came off the bench to score six points on 3-of-5 shooting and also had five rebounds to help the Longhorns to a solid 32-19 advantage on the boards. Guard Jared Pharr added six points and five rebounds in the win.

Reynolds and Snead combined to go 8-for-12 from 3-point range and teamed for 35 of Stuart’s 45 points (18 by Reynolds).

Both Stonewall clubs are off until traveling to Calera next Tuesday.

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