When John Tyler beat Mesquite Horn in the championship game of the Dallas ISD Holiday Invitational, Lady Jags coach Darrin Samuels saw what his team needed to improve upon.
When the two teams played a second time at the Lions Den on Tuesday, Samuels’ Horn squad put those lessons into action, defeating John Tyler 64-54 in a battle of District 11-6A unbeatens.
“We’re a young team and we’re getting better every game,” Samuels said. “When we played them in the tournament, we saw some of the things we need to improve on and the kids worked hard to do better.”
Sophomore point guard Nyah Boyd scored nine of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Jags (19-5, 6-0) pull away in the final frame and take control of the 11-6A race.
Alyssa Mayfield paced the Lady Lions (15-7, 5-1) with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but only managed three points after halftime as JT saw its 10-game winning streak come to an end.
John Tyler beat Horn 62-54 on Dec. 30 and was the better team in the first quarter, leading 20-16 after one.
However the Lady Lions struggled offensively the rest of the game, shooting 29 percent the rest of the way.
The Lady Jags led 34-32 at halftime and 45-42 after three quarters following a step-back jumper from Boyd.
After Destini Whitehead hit a jumper to pull JT within 45-44 on the first possession of the fourth quarter, Boyd took over, scoring or assisting on more points than the entire Lady Lions team the rest of the way.
After Mayfield hit her only bucket of the second half to make it 58-54 Horn with 1:37 to play, Boyd scored the final six points of the game to secure the Lady Jags’ victory.
“She’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached,” Samuels said of Boyd. “You can’t teach what she can do.”
The speedy Boyd finished with four assists, two steals and two blocks while freshman guard Tray’Liyah Washington tallied 15 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Adrianna Belton racked up 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and three assists.
Senior post Daz Johnson finished with her second straight double-double for John Tyler, going for 14 points and 11 rebounds. Whitehead totaled 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Horn and JT will meet again on Feb. 3 in Mesquite. Given the way these teams have been playing, they could meet once more in the postseason.
“We’re going to probably have to play them two more times, one more at our place and one more in the playoffs,” Samuels said. “Our goal is to make sure we win the last one.”
Mesquite Horn 64, John Tyler 54
Horn 16 18 11 19 - 64
John Tyler 20 12 10 12 - 54
HORN-Taya Bridges, 0; Jonna McDonald, 7; Adrianna Belton, 13; Nyah Boyd, 23; Tajuan Lewis, 2; Christin Murphy, 2; Blessing Esomchuckwu, 2; Raneisha Williams, 0; Jene Samuels, 0; Umija Collins, 2; Tray’Liyah Washington, 15. FG: 29-63. FT: 3-7.
JOHN TYLER-Kaleon Grant, 3; Alyssa Mayfield, 16; Destini Whitehead, 11; Shay Johnson, 3; Zee Jones, 0; Jaz Hicks, 3; Bre Staten, 2; Daz Johnson, 14; Bri Criss, 0; Keke Lee, 0. FG: 20-63. FT: 10-17.
THREE POINT GOALS-MH (3-14): McDonald, Belton, Washington. JT (2-15): Grant, S. Johnson. REBOUNDS-MH 33 (Belton 6); JT 43 (D. Johnson 11). STEALS-MH 12 (Belton 3); JT 8 (Whitehead 3). ASSISTS-MH 11 (Boyd 4); JT 10 (Whitehead 5). BLOCKS-MH 5 (Boyd 2); JT 1 (D. Johnson). TURNOVERS-MH 15; JT 22. FOULS-MH 12; JT 8.
JV SCORE-Horn 63, John Tyler 27.
RECORDS-Horn 19-5 (6-0); John Tyler 15-7 (5-1).
NEXT UP-Rockwall-Heath at Mesquite Horn, 6:30 p.m. Friday; Robert E. Lee at John Tyler, 6 p.m. Friday.