Robert E. Leeâ€™s rise from district downtrodden to playoff qualifier has been a team effort.
No one exemplifies that more than senior Tucker Boyd, who Lee coach Alan Johnston lauds as a â€śtrue teammate.â€ť
Boyd will play his final regular-season high school game Tuesday at North Mesquite with the Red Raiders having already sewn up their first playoff appearance since 2007. Lee (20-9, 7-4 in 12-5A) currently sits in fourth place in the league standings, but can finish third with a win and loss by Mesquite Horn. The Jaguars play at district-leading Mesquite.
A two-year starter and three-year varsity letterman, Boydâ€™s statistics do not jump off the page. He is averaging 3.0 points and 2.4 assists per game this season.
But Johnston is quick to point out that stats are not what have made Boyd an automatic starter for every game this season.
â€śA lot of what Tucker does for our team will not show up in the box scores of the paper,â€ť Johnston said. â€śWe typically have Tucker guard the opposing teamâ€™s top perimeter player; not because heâ€™s the quickest or most athletic, but because heâ€™s highly intelligent, enjoys the challenge and most of all wants the job.â€ť
Boyd was thrust into the starting shooting guard/point guard role with the graduation of Lee guards Jarrod Coleman and Evan Tomlinson. Boydâ€™s biggest contribution to the previous season was as a perimeter shooter, but was now being asked to help more with ball handling and scoring.
The senior admits it took a while for him to adjust.
â€śAt the beginning of the season I think I wanted to do too much,â€ť Boyd said. â€śI think weâ€™ve filled in really well and evolved into what our offense needs to be. Whenever I have a chance to do what I can do on offense Iâ€™ll do that and I also look to get people open. That is my favorite thing about the game: setting other people up.â€ť
Boyd has saved his best offensive play for when it matters most.
Two weeks ago at home against Mesquite Horn in a game the Red Raiders had to have, Boyd scored 10 points in a 65-56 win. Four days later at Rockwall-Heath, another critical game, Boyd finished with nine points in a 69-56 victory.
This scoring surge began three weeks ago in what ended up being a loss. The Red Raiders were up against it, trailing Mesquite by double digits at halftime at home and had scored just 17 points in two periods of play.
Needing a spark, Boyd helped provide it with his passing and scoring, finishing with seven second-half points and six assists overall. His strong drive to the basket and layup with under a minute to play tied the game, which Mesquite ultimately won on a last-second 3-pointer.
â€śAs the season has progressed I think I feel comfortable with my role; score a few baskets here and there and play good defense and do whatever I can do to help out the team and get a win,â€ť Boyd said.
REL lost to Richardson Berkner in the Class 5A Region II area round in 2007 after defeating Dallas W.T. White in bi-district. That loss began a playoff drought that has finally been broke by Boyd and his teammates.
â€śIf I had to pick teams from the last four years as ones that would go to the playoffs, honestly I would probably pick ours the last one,â€ť Boyd said. â€śI think this yearâ€™s team plays so good as a team; we get along so well and are a family. This team is just different than any other team Iâ€™ve played on.
â€śWe didnâ€™t back down when we went 1-2 early in district. We kept faith and if we can just finish out this last one (at North Mesquite) it will be a huge deal.â€ť