Quaneshia Johnson nailed an off-balanced eight-footer as time expired and John Tyler ended Lindale’s quest for perfection in District 16-4A with a 46-45 win over Zhanelle Geathers and the No. 14 Lady Eagles Friday night.
Johnson grabbed a missed shot with time running out, turned and banked in the game-winner as the clock hit all zeros. The senior guard celebrated the bucket by racing downcourt and eventually in the tunnel while a thrilled home crowd exploded and the JT band blared at the Lions Den.
“We had been working on blocking out all week at practice,” Johnson said minutes after emerging from the locker room. “I was waiting for it to hit the rim. I got the ball, threw it off the backboard and it went in.”
The Lady Lions nearly pulled off the upset against the Lady Eagles in the district opener, missing a halfcourt shot to force overtime in a 71-68 setback after trailing by as many as 15 points with less than four minute remaining.
“We’ve lost about three one-point games throughout the year,” said JT coach Mike Smith, a former coach at Lindale. “It came at a great time, to get a win on a last-second shot and a putback.”
The Lady Lions (19-11, 4-3 in 16-4A) kept the contest close throughout, never trailing by more than six points. Lindale pulled ahead 36-30 early in the fourth on a 16-foot jumper by Geathers, who led the Lady Eagles (22-5, 6-1) with 18 points. Geathers added seven rebounds, two steals and one blocked shot.
JT rallied to tie the game on four different occasions, once at 38 on Amia Wickware’s interception of a pass, followed by a layup, and at 40 and 42 on buckets by Tameal Jones.
Lindale used a pair of free throws to regain the lead after JT evened it the first three times before Wickware stole another pass and finished with a layup to even the game at 44 with 1:07 left.
Again Lindale went to the line, with Geathers sinking the first but missing the second to leave JT life with 19 seconds remaining.
Johnson picked the right time for her only points of the night — three days after she scored 25 in a win at Jacksonville — following misses by Wickware and Jones.
Wickware topped all players with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the 5-9 sophomore forward tacked on three steals and blocked one shot. Jones registered 12 points for JT, half coming in the pivotal fourth.
“All week long we’ve been talking about how we need to play together,” Johnson added. “That’s what we did; we played together and beat Lindale.”
The lead changed hands eight times through three periods; the last coming after Lindale scored 10 straight points to go ahead 34-27. Geathers ended the run with a three-point play and a strong bucket inside for the seven-point disparity.
After giving up more than 70 points in the first meeting, the Lady Lions limited the Lady Eagles to a 31-percent shooting performance and forced 25 turnovers.
“Lindale’s as good as it is in the area,” Smith said. “The fact we can play at their level is a confidence-booster. I was proud of the girls for their tenacity and determination and heart and never-say-quit attitude.”
John Tyler 46, No. 14 Lindale 45
Lindale 8 9 15 13—45
John Tyler 9 9 9 19—46
LINDALE — Paige Murphy, 1; Hannah Malone, 9; Natasha Malone, 4; Symonne Brookins, 2; Neeley Doss, 5; Heather Gilbert, 3; Makenna Allen, 3; Zhanelle Geathers, 18. FG 15-49 FT 12-19.
JOHN TYLER — Ashtyn Beal, 4; Tiaka Lee, 3; Tameal Jones, 12; Quaneshia Johnson, 2; Amia Wickware, 20; Nola Jackson, 5. FG 16-57 FT 13-23.
Three-Point Goals — Lindale 3-14 (H. Malone, Doss, Gilbert), John Tyler 1-14 (Lee). Fouled Out — N. Malone, Allen, Lee. Rebounds — Lindale 47 (N. Malone 11), John Tyelr 39 (Wickware 14). Assists — Lindale 11 (N. Malone 3), John Tyler 8 (Johnson 3).
RECORDS — Lindale 22-5 (6-1); John Tyler 19-11 (4-3).
NEXT UP — Jacksonville at Lindale, Tuesday; Nacogdoches at John Tyler, Tuesday.