Both Stuart basketball squads displayed a lot of firepower in Tuesday night action.
The Hornets raced out to a 29-15 first-quarter lead en route to a dominating 80-46 win over a solid Stonewall Longhorns club.
And the Lady Hornets kept it all in the family with a 62-43 victory of the Stonewall Lady Longhorns junior varsity team.
Stuart 62, Stonewall JV 43
The Lady Longhorns junior varsity squad put a scare into Stuart head coach Melinda Dobson’s Lady Hornets early.
Field goals by Stonewall’s Breann Gipson and Cheyanne Miller and a 3-pointer by Amanda Transue put the Lady Longhorns up 7-0 with 4:08 remaining in the opening quarter.
But the Lady Hornets came storming back.
Haley Myatt, a 5-7 junior center, converted a couple of free throws at the 3:52 mark to put Stuart on the board. And scores by Karli Glover, a couple more from the line by Myatt and a 3-pointer by Abbie Painter knotted the score at 7-7 with 2:14 remaining.
But Stonewall wasn’t about to back down. A steal by Danielle Clarke her layup gave the Lady Longhorns the lead once again at 9-7.
Then, Miranda Strauss gave Stuart its first lead with a long 3-pointer at 10-9, and a Myatt putback just before the buzzer ended the first quarter gave the Lady Hornets a 12-9 lead - one they wouldn’t surrender.
However, Stonewall’s junior varsity squad didn’t flinch.
After Transue connected for two and Miller converted on a driving layup, the Lady Longhorns trailed by only three at 16-13 with 6:02 left in the first half.
Stuart, though, bounced right back. After a Glover score, Kayla Smith, a 5-6 freshman forward, converted an old-fashioned 3-point play, giving the Lady Hornets a 21-15 lead with 4:02 remaining in the opening half.
However, the gritty Stonewall bunch kept chipping away at the deficit. Clarke’s layup and a basket by Haley Snell narrowed the gap to 21-19 with only 1:54 remaining in the second quarter.
But Stuart’s Strauss had an answer, connecting from beyond the arc, and after another Stonewall field goal from Miller, Kayli Blasengame converted from the charity stripe with only :04 left in the first half, giving the Lady Hornets a 25-21 lead as the teams reached intermission.
The Lady Hornets began to pull away in the third quarter. Painter scored after a nifty pass from Blasengame, and then nailed a 3-pointer. And 30 seconds later, Lawson connected from long range and Stuart’s lead had reached double-digits at 33-23 with 4:02 remaining in the third quarter.
And when Painter stole a pass and tossed to Blasengame who converted another from long range, Stuart’s lead had reached 13, and the Lady Hornets coasted home from there.
“I’m very pleased with the way the team played tonight, especially after we got settled down,” Dobson said. “We didn’t look past Stonewall’s junior varsity squad. They could win a lot of games themselves.”
Lady Longhorns head coach Christie Jennings said she was very satisfied with her junior varsity team’s performance Tuesday night.
“They really played well, really gave a great effort,” she said. “I think they just got a little tired in the second half. But that’s not to take away from Stuart. They have a very good team.”
Jennings was forced to use her junior varsity squad after she accepted a recent invitation to appear in the prestigious Tournament of Champions at Eastern Oklahoma State College Jan. 6-8.
“That’s an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up,” she said. “It’s an honor to be included.”
High School basketball teams are limited to 16 regular season varsity games. The Lady Longhorns’ junior varisty squad will also take over for the varsity when they play Wapanucka later in the season.
Stonewall is 10-1 and ranked 13th. Their only loss came in Saturday’s finals of the Pontotoc Conference Tournament to Allen 65-56.
Transue led the Lady Longhorns in scoring Tuesday night with 10 points to go along with a couple of steals. Painter topped Stuart with 13 points, two steals and three rebounds, while Blasengame chipped in 12 and Glover also reached double-figures with 10.
Stuart 80, Stonewall 46
Before Tuesday’s matchup with the fourth-ranked Hornets, Stonewall head coach Wes Moreland said his squad had a huge mountain to climb.
After the game ended, the veteran Longhorns coach was even more impressed.
“I’ll tell you what, if they shoot like they did tonight, they’ll be playing for a state title in a few months,” he said. “They have a fantastic team, no question about it.”
The Hornets score early and they scored often Tuesday night.
After a Turner Brewer steal and putback, a couple of Zack Mabray scores and another Brewer field goal, Stewart had jumped out to an 8-2 lead after only 90 seconds had elapsed in the opening quarter.
And after a Brewer 3-pointer with 6:01 left, and a Dylan Jones offensive rebound and score, the Hornets were up 18-5 with 3:06 remaining in the first quarter. And 29 seconds later, Colten Chapman, a 6-4 senior forward, grabbed an offensive rebound and stuffed it back in and the lead was 20-5.
Stonewall’s David Hamilton drilled a 3-pointer, but Jones continued the Stuart barrage, connecting from beyond the arc again and the Hornets led 26-10 after one.
And Stuart didn’t let up. Chapman scored after a brilliant feed from Jones, then drilled a 3-pointer and added a field goal at the buzzer as the Hornets waltzed into the locker room with a whopping 52-21 lead at halftime.
Stuart head coach Trent Tidwell put his high octane squad on cruise control in the second half.
“I’m very pleased with the way we came out and put pressure on early,” Tidwell said. “We’re a pretty good team when we shoot the basketball well. But we’ll keep working, trying to improve. We have some big games coming up this week, and I feel like we’ll be ready.”
The Hornets were coming off a 67-48 shelling of a talented Silo club in the championship of the Silo Invitational Saturday.
Brewer and Mabray led a balanced Hornets attack with 15, while Chapman tossed in 14 to go along with eight rebounds. Jones also reached double figures with 13.
The Stonewall squads are off until after the New Year’s break, hosting Konawa Jan. 4.