TERRELL — John Tyler’s offense experienced a lengthy power outage, costing the Lions a chance at a lengthy stay in the postseason.
Lucas Lovejoy’s defense proved an area of concern most of the night and allowed the Leopards to earn a 58-40 win over John Tyler in a Class 4A boys basketball area playoff Friday at the Terrell ISD Athletic Complex.
JT shot a dismal 30 percent from the field and 6 percent from 3-point territory to see a seven-game win streak — and their season — come to a screeching halt. JT failed to make a field goal over the final five minutes.
The Lions (15-15) held the lead a total of 29 seconds, and never over the final 21 minutes. Lovejoy packed the paint and challenged JT’s shooters throughout, holding all Lions in single digits with the exception of Fred Ross, who scored a team-high 16 points. Lovejoy limited JT’s leading scorer, Tyus Bowser, to six points, one-third of his average.
“Bowser’s such an incredible player,” said seventh-year Lovejoy head coach Kyle Herrema, who has led the Leopards to district titles and the regional quarterfinals each year since the fairly new school fielded their first senior class.
“We tried to build a house around him all night long and tried to sink some people we didn’t think were as good perimeter shooters.”
Trevor Eckard ended the night with a game-high 17 points to lead Lovejoy (24-10). Jordan Reed recorded 16 points and UTEP signee Jake Flaggert fueled the Leopards inside with seven points and seven rebounds.
Flaggert, a 6-6 senior, found his way to the rack for two rim-shattering dunks to highlight a dominant second half for Lovejoy, which cruised through 13-4A with a 13-1 record before locking down Hallsville in bi-district.
After failing on the lob play in the firs half, Flaggert completed a backdoor alleyoop early in the third period off a feed from Elias Olvera (seven assists) to give Lovejoy its first double-digit advantage (31-21).
JT never pulled closer than nine points afterward, and trailed 49-38 following a short jumper from Ross, the Lions’ final field goal of the night with 5:00 showing. Lovejoy responded with two free throws and a steal in the backcourt and layup by Chris Ford to go ahead 53-38 and put the brakes on any thoughts of a comeback.
JT tried to slow Lovejoy by picking up its defense in the backcourt. Still, Lovejoy looked to cutters often, notching assists on 13 of 23 field goals. The Leopards shot 52 percent on the night
Lovejoy claimed the rebounding battle (33-24), outscored JT 30-12 on points inside the paint and doubled up the athletic Lions on fastbreak points (8-4) and points off turnovers (14-6).
The Lions lose nine seniors: Darion Flowers, Greg Ward, Fred Ross, Elliott Hart, Javonte Tramble, William Vaughn, Tyus Bowser, Vernon Thomas and Hennessey Lampkin. Key underclassmen returning include juniors Jordan Caldwell and Keaunte Humber and sophomore Isaac Warren.
“They’re so great in transition and off the glass,” Herrema said of the Lions. “Our big emphasis was to take away transition and clean up the boards and we did a good job blocking out tonight.
“The kids played with a lot of composure. I think we did a good job taking care of the press all night. They cause so much chaos, they’re so good and play so hard.”
Class 4A Area Playoff
At Terrell Athletic Complex
Lucas Lovejoy 58, John Tyler 40
John Tyler 4 15 10 11 — 40
Lovejoy 10 17 16 15 — 58
JOHN TYLER — Darion Flowers, 8; Greg Ward, 2; Isaac Warren, 3; Fred Ross, 16; Keaunte Humber, 3; Tyus Bowser, 6; Hennessey Lampkin, 2. FG 14-46 FT 11-14.
LOVEJOY — Elias Olvera, 1; Jordan Reed, 16; Cameron Knight, 5; Trevor Eckard, 17; Sam Victor, 5; Chris Ford, 7; Jake Flaggert, 7. FG 23-44 FT 9-13.
Three-Point Goals-John Tyler 1-16 (Warren), Lovejoy 3-8 (Flaggert, Reed, Victor). Rebounds-John Tyler 24 (Ward 7), Lovejoy 33 (Ford 10). Assists-John Tyler 5 (Ross 2), Lovejoy 13 (Olvera 6). Total Fouls-John Tyler 15, Lovejoy 15. Turnovers-John Tyler 17, Lovejoy 17. Blocks-John Tyler 2 (Bowser 2), Lovejoy 2 (Eckard, Flaggert).
RECORDS — John Tyler 15-15; Lucas Lovejoy 24-10.
NEXT UP — John Tyler season complete; Lucas Lovejoy vs. Arlington Seguin or Wylie in regional quarterfinals.