FORNEY — John Tyler set the record straight, so to speak.
Thanks to the inside strength of Tyus Bowser and Fred Ross and outside touch of Isaac Warren, John Tyler attained a winning record for the first time all season with a 62-58 victory over Mansfield Summit in a Class 4A boys bi-district playoff Tuesday.
Bowser netted a game-best 14 points and Warren and Ross bucketed 13 apiece to lead JT into the area round. JT faces Lucas Lovejoy in a second-round matchup Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Terrell.
JT never played a regular season game above the .500 mark before prevailing in bi-district for the third consecutive year. The JT fans filled the home side, which included the “Big Blue Band.”
Summit (19-15) saw its nine-year streak of getting to at least the area round end against a hot-shooting JT squad. The Lions knocked down 55 percent of their attempts from the field. JT thrived from long range, going 5 for 8 (62 percent) to offset a shaky night at the free-throw line where it hit 13 of 26 shots (50 percent).
Warren, a 6-1 sophomore ball handler, went 4 for 4 on money balls. Ross, a 6-2 senior and PARADE All-American football player signed with Mississippi State, reaped the benefits of getting inside, where four of his five field goals came.
Bowser sparked JT with a team-high in three different categories, including nine rebounds and four assists. The Houston signee shot an efficient 4 for 6 from the field and 6 for 8 at the free throw line.
Bowser closed the game strong, with four points and three helpers over the final eight minutes, including a key pass to Greg Ward (eight points) for a 56-52 lead with 2:46 remaining. Another Bowser assist to Darion Flowers, and a Ross bucket off a baseline drive, put JT up 60-52.
Summit pulled within two (60-58) after a three-point play by Isaiah McFail, a 3-pointer by Tre Johnson and four missed free throws by JT.
Bowser, a 6-3 senior, sealed the win for JT with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds remaining.
“We isolated our best guy, Bowser, at the top and he got some buckets that pushed it out there a little bit,” JT had coach Cedeno Clark said. “You have to give Ike Warren credit, he hit some big time shots. And Greg hit a big one in the fourth.”
Terrance Hubby hit for 12 points to lead Summit. The Jaguars struggled from long range, shooting 23 percent on 3-point attempts, and at the charity stripe, where they connected at a 38-percent clip.
“Defensive-wise we applied more pressure in our press, got some turnovers and got the crowd in the game,” Clark said. “That told the difference in the fourth quarter.”
Clark went on to say JT can play even better after the Lions left more than a dozen points at the free throw line and lost the rebounding battle in the victory.
“We still have a lot we can improve on,” Clark said. “It was one of those games — boxing out, missing free throws — if you capitalize on things like that, the sky’s the limit. Our best basketball is yet to be played.”
Class 4A Bi-District Playoff
At North Forney High School
John Tyler 62, Mansfield Summit 58
Summit 13 18 13 14 — 58
John Tyler 19 14 10 19 — 62
MANSFIELD SUMMIT — Lydell Young, 3; Isaiah McFail, 8; Lovell Cabbil, 8; Tre Johnson, 7; Terrance Hubby, 12; Travis Hooker, 8; Patrick Tshituka, 7; Keilyn Nance, 3. Kendrick Johnson, 2. FG 24-52 FT 7-13.
JOHN TYLER — Darion Flowers, 6; Greg Ward, 8; Jordan Caldwell, 2; Isaac Warren, 13; Fred Ross, 13; Keaunte Humber, 2; Tyus Bowser, 14; Hennessey Lampkin, 4. FG 22-40 FT 13-26.
THREE-POINT GOALS-Summit 3-13 (Johnson 2, Hooker), John Tyler 5-8 (Warren 4, Ward). Fouled Out-Cabbil, Tshituka. Rebounds-Summit 29 (Hooker, Nance 6), John Tyler 23 (Bowser 9). Assists-Summit 8 (Hooker 3), John Tyler 10 (Ross 3). Total Fouls-Summit 23, John Tyler 14.
RECORDS — Mansfield Summit 19-15; John Tyler 15-14.
NEXT UP — John Tyler vs. Lucas Lovejoy, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Terrell Athletic Complex in Class 4A area playoffs.