WILLS POINT â€” John Tyler was lethal from the beyond the arc, but it wasnâ€™t enough to overcome a sluggish opening eight minutes as the Lady Lions fell 70-60 to Red Oak Tuesday in a Class 4A girls bi-district playoff game.
JT managed just seven shot attempts in the first period as Red Oak outscored the Lady Lions 21-8 and still was in front 38-24 at halftime.
Red Oak needed that cushion too because JT put on an outside shooting clinic in the second half, draining nine 3-pointers to push the Hawks to the limit, but was never able to catch them.
The Hawks used strong play in the paint from Chelsea Warren and Diamond Lockhart â€” both had double-doubles â€” to hold off the Lady Lions in the end. Warren finished a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds while Warren had 10 points and 12 boards.
The Lady Lions countered with outside shooting â€” a lot of it. John Tyler finished with 14 3-pointers in its loss with Tiaka Lee and Ashtyn Beal accounting for eight of those. Lee scored 15 points with Beal leading JT with 18.
â€śIt was good 3-point shooting, but what that was, was heart,â€ť said JT coach Mike Smith. â€śWeâ€™d dug ourselves such a hole and they knew we couldnâ€™t go inside against those big kids. They knew what they had to do and for the most part in the second half did what they had to, to give us a chance to try and win the game.â€ť
John Tyler completes its season with a 22-12 record. Red Oak (26-9) moves on to the area round where the Hawks will face McKinney North later this week.
The Lady Lions went into the locker room at halftime down 14 points, attempting 21 shots compared to 42 for Red Oak, most of those coming on second-chance points.
Warren opened the scoring for Red Oak, pushing JTâ€™s deficit to 16 points, 40-24.
Then Lee made a 3-pointer.
The 11-2 run quickly moved JTâ€™s deficit into single digits. Lockhart made a steal, went coast-to-coast and was fouled, converting on a 3-point play that helped Red Oak move back out to double digits, 49-37.
But Beal had other ideas, nailing three-straight treys to pull JT within six points, 52-46, with 37 seconds to play in the third. A basket in the paint by Red Oakâ€™s Kayla Barber made the score 54-46 with one period left.
Any doubt that JT was cooling off from beyond the arc was laid to rest in the opening minute of the fourth when Lee banked in a long-range trey off the glass. A basket by Barber was followed by another JT 3-pointer, this time from Quaneshia Johnson, which cut the deficit to four points, 56-52, with 6:31 to play.
JT couldnâ€™t draw any closer than that, cutting its deficit to four points again with 5:13 to play on a basket by Tameal Jones, but Lockhart did enough to carry Red Oak over the finish line with a 10-point win.
â€śAnytime you have to fight that hard to get back in the game, you wear down a little bit because they were giving so much effort,â€ť Smith said. â€śTheir heart came through and their determination and desire to win the game really came through. Red Oak is a good team and I give them a lot of credit.â€ť
Class 4A Bi-District Playoff
At Wills Point H.S.
Red Oak 70, John Tyler 60
Red Oak 21 17 16 16 â€” 70
John Tyler 8 16 22 14 â€” 60
RED OAK â€” Taylor McCullough, 12; Diamond Lockhart, 23; Kayla Barber, 6; R Trevia Randolph 5; Kajaira Mays, 8; Bailey Hebert, 2; Chelsea Warren, 10; Ciera Johnson, 4. FG: 27-81. FT: 10-11.
JOHN TYLER â€” Ashtyn Beal, 18; Tiaka Lee, 15; Tameal Jones, 13; Quaneshia Johnson, 3; Amia Wickware, 8; Kayla Webb, 3. FG: 19-52. FT: 8-12.
THREE-POINT GOALS â€” RO (6-29): McCullough (2), Lockhart (3), Mays. JT (14-31): Beal (4), Lee (4), Jones (3), Wickware (2), Johnson.
RECORDS â€” Red Oak 26-9; John Tyler 22-12.
NEXT UP â€“ Red Oak vs. McKinney North in area round; John Tyler season complete.