Standing Firm: Lee holds off Nacogdoches, 47-42


Robert E. Lee senior Tucker Boyd drives to the basket between to Nacogdoches defenders in Tuesdays' game at Lee Varsity Gym. (Jake A. Waddingham | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

After building a big lead, Robert E. Lee held off a rally attempt during the final quarter to register a 47-42 victory against Nacogdoches in a boys non-district basketball action Tuesday night at the REL Varsity Gymnasium.

The Red Raiders led by 10 points entering the fourth over the Dragons, who rallied to pull within two with about three minutes remaining. Lee pushed the advantage back to seven with less than two minutes remaining via two free throws and a pair of baskets.

The victory came without head coach Alan Johnston, who is expected to be back for Tuesday’s game at Whitehouse.

“Our kids settled back down and showed a lot of maturity,” Lee assistant coach Joe Crawford said. “I told them before the game you are going to have to play 32 minutes, but at the end of the game we finished. The way they came back and were battling back on us, we could have folded really easily but the kids didn’t.”

Senior forward Taylor Tankersley finished with 16 points and six rebounds to lead the Red Raiders, who improved to 11-2 on the season and was also playing without junior forward Caleb Johnston because of injury. Tankersley accounted for eight of Lee’s final 14 points, which included two free throws to increase the lead to 43-39 with two minutes left in the fourth.

Senior wing Austin Willeford and Senior point guard De’ante Riggins finished with 11 points to pace the Dragons, who fell to 8-5 on the season and return to action Friday at Lufkin. Riggins played a key role in Nacogdoches’ rally in the fourth, which the Dragons entered trailing 33-23 after being outscored 9-0 in the second quarter against a tough Red Raiders defense.

Riggins’ final basket of the night — a 3-pointer — pulled Nacogdoches to within 41-39 two three minutes remaining, but the Red Raiders were able to respond to the rally before it became too late. The Dragons outscored the Red Raiders 19-12 in the fourth.

“Coach Johnston is always saying it’s a game of spurts,” Crawford said. “We missed several point-blank shots and they made a couple of threes in the third.”

The Red Raiders were able to create enough breathing with the second-quarter shutout and entered the the break with a 21-11 lead — their first double figures lead of the night.

“Defense is what we’ve kind of hung our hat on,” Crawford said. “Holding people down offensively and in the second quarter to come out and hold a team like Nacogdoches to zero points is a heck of a job.”

Tankersley scored 12 points in the second half alone to pace the Red Raiders, who led by as many as 13 points in the third quarter.

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Robert E. Lee 47, Nacogdoches 42

Nacogdoches         11   0   12  19  —  42

Lee                           12   9   14  12 — 47

NACOGDOCHES — Kwa’ Jones, 6; Austin Willeford, 11; D’Ante Riggins, 11; Mason Proctor, 3; Patrick Sanders, 10; L.J. Barnes, 1.

LEE — Jack Calhoun, 5; Luke Derfus, 5; Darriun Smallwood, 6; Christian Boone, 3; Taylor Tankersley, 16; Jared Williams, 2; Will Dougherty, 8; Tucker Boyd, 2.

THREE POINT GOALS — N: Willeford (3), Riggins. REL: Calhoun, Derfus, Smallwood, Takersley.

RECORDS — Nacogdoches 8-5; Lee 11-2.

NEXT UP — Nacogdoches at Lufkin, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Lee at Whitehouse, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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Junior Varsity

Robert E. Lee 70, Nacogdoches 50

Nacogdoches     5   10   13  22 — 50

Lee                     13  20    22   15 — 70

NACOGDOCHES — Johnson, 3; White, 11; Rogers, 12; Morales, 6; Bapu, 6; Thomas, 2; Wallace, 2; Cotton, 1; Roberts, 2.

LEE — K. Ramsey, 12; P. Barb, 10; R. Pullium 6; Thibodeaux, 7; Davis, 7; Major, 14; Weeks, 6; Fapp, 2; Bice, 2; B. Ramsey, 4.

THREE POINT GOALS — N: White (2), Rogers (2), Morales, Bapu (2). REL: K. Ramsey, Thibodeaux.

RECORDS — Robert E. Lee JV 11-0.

NEXT UP — Robert E. Lee JV vs. Hudson, 12:40 p.m. Thursday, Lufkin Tournament.

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Freshmen

Lee 89, Nacogdoches 21

Nacogdoches    8   10  1   2 — 21

Lee                    33    26   9  21 — 89

NACOGDOCHES — Ty Hayter, 9; Carl Schulker, 2; Larry Allen, 1; Taye McClendon, 2; Jamal Brown, 2; Kamron Yarbrough, 5.

LEE — Treston Cross, 16; Isjuwan Barker, 10; Quintas Cooper, 3; Zach Hall, 6; Jordan Berry, 16; Grey Calhoun, 4; Kerry Dotson, 5; Patrick Pullam, 9; Quardraiz Wadley, 9; Zach Carder, 11.

THREE POINT GOALS — N: Willeford (3), Riggins. REL: Calhoun, Derfus, Smallwood, Takersley.

RECORDS — Nacogdoches 8-5; Lee 11-2.

NEXT UP — Nacogdoches at Lufkin, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Lee at Whitehouse, 7:30 p.m. Friday.