John Tyler enjoyed a home free night, dominating from start-to-finish to send their three seniors out in style in their final game at the Lions Den.
Tiaka Lee logged 20 points to stamp a successful Senior Night and lead John Tyler to a 56-33 win over Corsicana on Tuesday.
The Lady Lions (22-11, 7-3 in 16-4A) closed out the regular season with their sixth straight win, locking up the district’s second seed. JT begins the playoffs at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wills Point against the loser between Mansfield Summit and Red Oak, who meet later in the week in a district playoff for second.
Lee leaves JT as the school’s leading scorer of the 21st century after averaging double digits all four years on varsity.
“Tiaka’s been our leader for a long time in points,” JT coach Mike Smith said. “She did a great job.”
Sophomore guard Tameal Jones netted 17 points for the Lady Lions. Seniors Quaneshia Johnson (four points, three rebounds, two steals) and Nola Jackson (four points, four rebounds) also played their final home games.
“Those seniors all have a great future ahead of them,” Smith said of his outgoing trio. “They’ve done a lot for the Lady Lions program.”
Lee scored half of JT’s total as the Lady Lions jumped out to a 12-3 lead with a dozen straight points in the first period.
The second half started in similar fashion, with Lee stealing a pass and completing a three-point play at the other end for a 10-point lead (25-15). Lee knifed her way for a layup near the end of the third period for a 35-21 advantage.
In the fourth period, Lee turned into a passer on assists to Jones and Amia Wickware for 3-pointers and a 51-27 cushion. Lee ended her career with a triple of her own with 55 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Corsicana (15-18, 1-9) settled for several jumpers, going 1 for 17 (5 percent) from 3-point range and getting outscored 28-12 on points inside the paint.
“I thought we did a great job of keeping them from penetrating and going to the basket,” Smith said. “I thought in the second half we did a better job rebounding and we put more pressure on them, which was to our advantage. “
No player reached double figures for Corsicana, which went scoreless for 6:11 in the first period to fall behind big.
For the third straight year the JT girls go into the playoffs with a full head of steam, and after finishing second in district with a win over the district champion under their belt.
“After that last loss against Whitehouse, the kids rededicated e and became more determined,” said Smith, whose team went into the final game of the first round tied for last before making a run. “It woke us up.”
John Tyler 56, Corsicana 35
Corsicana 5 10 6 12 — 33
John Tyler 12 10 13 21 — 56
CORSICANA – Alexis Baston, 4; Sha Sha Taylor, 6; Destine Lunsford, 6; Tamera White, 2; Calae Wilson, 5; Erica Melendez, 8; Briana Blitz, 2. FG 14-52 FT 4-7.
JOHN TYLER – Ashtyn Beal, 2; Tiaka Lee, 20; Tameal Jones, 17; Quaneshia Johnson, 4; Key-Ana Tatum, 0; Amia Wickware, 5; Donishia Rouege, 2; Nola Jackson, 4; Kayla Webb, 2. FG 24-53 FT 4-15.
Three-Point Goals – Corsicana 1-17 (Wilson), John Tyler 4-12 (Jones 2, Lee, Wickware). Fouled Out-Johnson. Rebounds – Corsicana 34 (Melendez 7), John Tyler 43 (Wickware 9). Assists – Corsicana 8 (Wilson 2), John Tyler 11 (Lee, Jones, Tatum 2). Total Fouls – Corsicana 14, John Tyler 14.
RECORDS – Corsicana 15-18 (1-9); John Tyler 22-11 (7-3).
NEXT UP – Corsicana season complete; John Tyler vs. Mansfield Summit or Red Oak, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wills Point in Class 4A bi-district playoffs.