Five days removed from the Thanksgiving holiday and Robert E. Lee was still in the giving mood.
But John Tyler squandered those gifts.
The Lions went to the free throw line 30 times, but could only manage 12 makes as Lee defeated JT 50-36 Tuesday at Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gymnasium.
The victory for Lee keeps the Red Raiders (5-0) unbeaten while the Lions drop to 0-5.
Lee never trailed in the game.
“The coaches gave us a perfect scouting report,” said Lee senior Tucker Boyd, who scored 11 points to lead the Red Raiders.
“They play on-the-ball (defense) and (the plan was) for us not to shoot as much, but rather drive to the basket. I think we accomplished that.”
Lee won the rebounding battle in resounding fashion, 44-23, thanks to Taylor Tankersley, Caleb Johnston and Will Dougherty combining for 28 boards by themselves.
JT’s Keaunte Humber led all players with 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals before fouling out late in the fourth period. No one else on JT scored more than four points.
The Lions trailed 26-21 at halftime, but missed free throws halted their comeback. JT made 4 of 10 in the third period and 9 of 20 overall in the second half.
“You get to the free throw line (that many) times and miss 18 of them. The game is close if we make a high percentage of those,” said JT coach Cedeno Clark. “The game was close at halftime. Free throws pretty much gave it away for us.”
Ironically, before the game’s opening tip, two free throws were shot and made by Lee’s Tankersley. A JT player had been called for a pregame technical foul for dunking.
“We are playing with a lot of kids who haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball, so you are going to have mistakes like that,” Clark said as JT is without four starters who are still playing football.
“(Lee) is a disciplined team. They are going to take care of the ball and not beat themselves and that is just how it came out.”
The Red Raiders built a 6-2 lead on two free throws from Boyd and used a 10-0 run early in of the second period on press-break layups from Darriun Smallwood and Luke Derfus to build a 20-10 advantage.
“The key thing was we defeated the press pretty good and we had some guys who stepped up in the second half,” said Lee coach Alan Johnston. “We had some pretty solid rebounds that came at key times.”
JT answered with an 8-1 run to end the half with Humber and J’Michael Jasper doing the honors to slice Lee’s halftime advantage to five points, 26-21.
The Red Raiders began the second half on a 9-2 run, thanks to two 3-pointers by Caleb Johnston.
Humber again brought JT back with Jacob Owens-Bush powering in for a basket to make the score 37-31 with one period remaining.
Boyd then brought the Red Raiders over the finish line, first with a driving baseline layup and then a three-point play. Those five points enabled REL to lead 44-31 with 3:52 remaining and Lee maintained it after that.
“I thought Caleb Johnston hit a couple big 3s and Tucker Boyd played outstanding in the second half with his finishing around the basket,” Johnston said. “Now we got into the fun time of high school basketball — tournament time.”
Lee will next face North Forney at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Hoop Heaven Classic at Eagle Gymnasium in Lindale. JT goes to the Rosa’s Tournament in Fort Worth on Thursday against Castleberry.
“We are just still fighting and scratching; trying to get the first victory of the season,” Clark said.
Robert E. Lee 50,
John Tyler 36
John Tyler813105 — 36
Robert E. Lee13131113 — 50
JOHN TYLER — Jordan Caldwell, 4; Keaunte Humber, 15; Javonte Tramble, 3; Jacob Owens-Bush, 4; William Vaughn, 4; Vernon Thomas, 0; J’Michael Jasper, 2; Hennessey Lampkin, 4. FG: 12-47 FT: 12-30.
ROBERT E. LEE — Jack Calhoun, 0; Austin Fleet, 0; Luke Derfus, 5; Darriun Smallwood, 2; Taylor Tankersley, 9; Jared Williams, 4; Will Dougherty, 5; Caleb Johnston, 8; Tucker Boyd, 11; Justin DeSalvo, 6. FG: 13-50. FT: 12-19.
THREE POINT GOALS — JT (0-7): None. REL (4-18): Johnston (2), Tankersley, Derfus.
RECORDS — John Tyler 0-5; Robert E. Lee 5-0.
NEXT UP — John Tyler vs. Castleberry, Thursday at Rosa’s Tournament, Fort Worth; Lee vs. North Forney, 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Hoop Heaven Tournament, Lindale HS.