John Tyler showcased its potential for a playoff run on the hardwood, going full-depth in doing so.
Thanks to its depth, John Tyler passed up Whitehouse for a 78-65 win in a District 16-4A boys’ basketball showdown Tuesday in front of an estimated 2,000 at a spirited Lions Den.
After leading a total of 17 seconds in the first half, JT fired away for 46 points in the second half, and held Whitehouse scoreless for three key minutes, to improve to 2-0 in District 16-4A play.
JT forward Tyus Bowser posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, highlighted by a run-out dunk with 2:24 left for an 11-point lead. Bowser, a 6-3 senior, drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer to give JT a 37-35 lead early into the third, and the Lions never trailed again.
The JT bench outscored Whitehouse 24-6. Jordan Caldwell and Keaunte Humber, two regulars in the starting lineup during the fall when seven current varsity players still played football, finished with 11 points each to lead the way for the second unit.
The Lions’ reserves spurred a key 6-0 run to end the third, with Elliott Hart finding Humber for a side jumper, and JaVonte Tramble scoring off a putback and a feed from Hart for a 50-41 cushion going into the final frame.
JT (8-12) shared the wealth, in the fourth period especially, where the Lions recorded seven of their 15 assists against Whitehouse (17-6, 1-1).
Fred Ross recorded 14 points and six assists for the Lions, who improved to 28-2 in district play over the past three seasons. Greg Ward paced JT with four assists.
“I told the kids, be ready when you’re number is called,” first-year JT coach Cedeno Clark said. “We know we had some guys come in and change the dynamics of the team. That’s all we ask them to do, be ready, and that was huge.”
The JT offense often stalled in the first period before the Lions located their rhythm over the final third quarters, where they scored 66 points. JT shot 54 percent from the field for the game, getting most of its buckets inside on the way to outscoring Whitehouse 46-28 on points inside the paint.
“We’ve got guys that are athletic enough to get to the (goal) any time they want,” Clark said. “We stand around the perimeter too much (at times). I told them we needed to be in attack mode.”
Patrick Mahomes scored a game-high 23 points for Whitehouse. Mahomes’ biggest play of the night, wound up not counting, however, when the junior sensation soared over a JT defender for a thunderous dunk, only to have a charge violation negate the play.
The Lions charged back to life midway through the second, with Ward, an all-state quarterback, showing his passing skills on an assist to Caldwell in transition for JT’s first lead of the night at 29-28.
Mahomes helped Whitehouse take a 33-32 lead at the midway point after hitting two free throws late in the second.
JT outscored Whitehouse 18-8 in the third to turn the game around. Clark credited JT assistant head coach Marlon Byrdsong, who handles the defensive end, for the momentum shift.
“Coach Byrdsong made adjustments at halftime and we held them to single digits in the third quarter,” Clark said. “That was the difference.”
John Tyler 78, Whitehouse 65
Whitehouse17 16 8 24—65
John Tyler 12 20 18 28—78
WHITEHOUSE — Patrick Mahomes, 23; Jaylon Dews, 12; Jake Parker, 7; Chris Kunzman, 3; Ryan Cheatham, 8; Spencer Shaw, 9; Justin Dunning, 3. FG 24-61 FT 12-17.
JOHN TYLER — Darion Flowers, 8; Greg Ward, 5; Jordan Caldwell, 11; Isaac Warren, 9; Fred Ross, 14; Keaunte Humber, 11; JaVonte Tramble, 2; Tyus Bowser, 18. FG 29-54 FT 16-23.
Three-point goals — W: 5-19 (Mahomes, Dews, Parker, Kunzman, Shaw); JT: 4-12 (Ward, Caldwell, Warren, Bowser). Rebounds — W: 34 (Cheatham 7); JT: 41 (Bowser 10). Assists — W: 5 (Parker 3); JT: 15 (Ward 4). Steals — W: 7 (Mahomes 2); JT: 8 (Ward 2). Blocks —: Whitehouse 1 (Ty Stickly); JT: 3 (Bowser 2). Turnovers — W: 16; JT: 14. Total fouls — W: 18; JT: 20.
RECORDS — Whitehouse 17-6 (1-1); John Tyler 8-12 (2-0).
NEXT UP — John Tyler at Corsicana, Friday.