John Tyler frustrated Pine Tree on the defensive end which enabled it to negate an off-night shooting for a 42-30 win over the Lady Pirates.
In a matchup of the top two teams in last year’s district, the Lady Lions compensated for a 25-percent shooting effort by forcing 41 turnovers in the 12-point victory Friday at the Lions Den.
JT held the Lady Pirates scoreless for five minutes in the opening period, and did not allow a field goal over the final 3:40.
The backcourt tandem of sophomore guard Tameal Jones and senior Tiaka Lee led JT with 11 points apiece. Freshman Ashtyn Beal netted 10 points for the Lady Lions.
JT (12-5) won for the eighth time in nine games, despite missing the services of starting forward Nola Jackson.
“We just didn’t shoot the ball well,” JT coach Mike Smith said. “It was one of those games we had to stay focused.”
JT never trailed after Jones knocked down a trey for an early 3-2 lead. JT also never exhaled — the Lady Lions endured a 10-minute long stretch minus a field goal starting early in the second period — until a fourth quarter burst coming after Pine Tree pulled with four (33-29) on consecutive putbacks by Sky-Lynn Holmes.
JT responded with nine straight points to put the game on ice. An offensive rebound turned into a jumper by Quaneshia Johnson. JT maintained the momentum as Lee stole a pass and fed Jones inside. Lee nailed a jumper then found Beal for a 3-pointer for a commanding 42-29 lead with 1:08 remaining.
“We played together on defense,” Smith said. “We got in that half-court trap again and performed that well and got some steals. Then we made it a 10-point game, which is where we wanted.”
Pine Tree scored six of its 14 field goals on putbacks. Pine Tree dominated the boards (45-24), thanks to the efforts of Holmes (six points, 15 rebounds, five blocks) and McKayla Baylor (eight points, nine rebounds). Pine Tree finished 13-1 en route to winning District 14-4A last year and returned four of five starters. JT handed Pine Tree its lone loss in district action while finishing second. The Lady Pirates suffered a key loss with a knee injury to point guard Abby Mitchell earlier in the month.
“We rebounded most of the game well,” Pine Tree coach Robin Herber said. “We just turned over the ball too much.”
JT and Pine Tree could meet again in the second round next week of the Macy Chenevert Holiday Tournament at UT Tyler. Both teams go into district following the tournament, Pine Tree in 14-4A and JT in its new loop, 16-4A.
“We’re in the process of getting a new rhythm,” Herber said. “There are a lot of people that we’ll play in district that are very athletic and play pressure defense like (JT). I thought it was good to prepare for district.”
John Tyler 42, Pine Tree 30
Pine Tree41010 6 — 30
John Tyler 11 61411 — 42
PINE TREE — Daneisha Patterson, 9; Mackenzie Richardson, 2; Kabreisha Orange, 2; Sheondra Clayton, 2; Sky-Lynn Holmes, 6; McKayla Baylor, 8; Abi Skeeler, 1. FG 14-41 FT 2-6.
JOHN TYLER — Ashtyn Beal, 10; Tiaka Lee, 11; Tameal Jones, 11; Quaneshia Johnson, 5; Kayla Webb, 5. FG 14-57 FT 10-12.
Three-Point Goals — PT: 0-1; JT 4-19 (Beal 2, Jones, Lee). Rebounds — PT 45 (Holmes 15), JT 24 (Johnson 5). Assists — PT 5 (Patterson 2), JT 8 (Lee, Jones, Johnson 2). Blocks — PT 5 (Holmes 5), JT 0. Steals — PT 9 (Patterson 4), JT 19 (Beal, Lee, Jones 4). Turnovers — PT 41, JT 16. Total Fouls — PT 11, JT 10.
RECORDS — Pine Tree 10-6; John Tyler 12-5.
NEXT UP — Macy Chenevert Holiday Tournament, Dec. 27 at UT Tyler: Pine Tree vs. Henderson, 1 p.m.; John Tyler vs. Wills Point, 2:30 p.m.