John Tyler senior Quaneshia Johnson spends as much time in a court setting as a judge, and the outcomes speak volumes.
Just don’t expect her volleyball or basketball teammates to object to her presence, with Johnson’s legacy in school history already cemented with 158 wins on the varsity level in two sports.
The standout setter, who helped the JT spikers to 76 victories, continues to make a case as one of the better basketball players in the area. Johnson tops the Lady Lions in scoring (12.8 points) in district play, helping JT climb to second place in the 16-4A girls’ basketball standings.
Johnson recently earned first-team honors on the Tyler Morning Telegraph All-East Texas volleyball team. Still, Johnson prefers shooting into a net than hitting the ball over one.
“Basketball is my passion,” said Johnson, the daughter of Jerome and Linda Johnson. “This is the sport I love. Hopefully I can play at the next level.”
With Johnson sparking a turnaround, JT turned up its play another level the past two weeks, going from a team stuck at the bottom of district to the second position.
JT enters today’s key game at Whitehouse on a four-game winning streak since losing 52-45 in the first meeting with the LadyCats. Johnson, a 5-6 senior in her fourth varsity season, sparked JT’s turnaround with a 13-point effort in a 51-41 victory over Corsicana, followed by a 25-point outburst in a 50-45 win against Jacksonville.
Johnson scored her only basket on a game-winning bank shot for a buzzer-beater against state-ranked Lindale last Friday. The shooting guard sunk four 3-pointers and totaled 16 points in Tuesday’s 56-50 triumph over Nacogdoches.
“After we got embarrassed at home against Whitehouse, we all came together and rededicated ourselves,” said Johnson, who is also known by the nickname “Tootie” that was given to her by older brother Chris. “We’ve been working together as a team. Our main goal is to block out, get back and play some defense. And our offense is coming together.”
The win over Lindale marked the third straight season JT handed the district-leading team its first loss.
“The Lindale game boosted our confidence and set the tone,” said Johnson, who ranks No. 3 in the senior class and sports a 3.96 grade-point average. “Once we beat them, we got over a hump and it inspired us to keep playing hard.”
Johnson joined the varsity as a freshman, helping JT tie for third in District 11-5A. She averaged double digits on a playoff team as a sophomore and on last year’s area finalists. JT owns a 82-47 record on the court with Johnson and fellow senior Tiaka Lee, the team’s leading scorer, on board. Her experience as a four-year starters offers as much support to the Lady Lions, she feels, as her stroke.
“I don’t have to be a big scorer,” said Johnson, who braids hair in her spare time, a trade she picked up from her mother. “My other teammates help out. As far as getting everybody together, me and Tiaka do that — try to be vocal leaders.”
For all her varsity success, a .634 winning percentage in 249 contests and six 20-win seasons, Johnson wants to add to her one playoff victory in six appearances going on seven.
“The playoffs are always going to be harder than district,” said Johnson, whose older brother Jeremy Johnson plays wide receiver at SMU. “Hopefully we keep growing and getting better everyday.”
JT-WHITEHOUSE BOYS GOING FOR SECONDS
The long-anticipated rematch between the John Tyler and Whitehouse pits two teams tied for second in district.
JT and Whitehouse both improved to 4-2 in district with wins Tuesday. JT eased to a 54-34 win over Nacogdoches behind senior forward Tyus Bowser’s 14 points and six rebounds while Whitehouse won 79-74 at Corsicana thanks to 34 points from junior Patrick Mahomes.
The Lions (10-14) claimed the first meeting 78-65, with Bowser (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Fred Ross (14 points) leading JT. Mahomes netted 23 points for the Wildcats (20-7).
JT overcame a halftime deficit to get the 13-point win. The Lions plan for a tougher go tonight on the road.
“It’s going to be a tough game Friday at Whitehouse,” Lions coach Cedeno Clark said. “It’s a tough environment. We have to be up for the challenge. We have to start out strong and finish strong also.”