Aston Francis + Sixth-Ranked Tyler All Saints Rout Rival Tyler Grace To Remain Unbeaten In District
TYLER -- Sometimes, the game plan must be altered because of in-game circumstances. The hot shooting touch of Tyler All Saints senior guard Aston Francis called for a recalculation from his father, head coach Eddie Francis.
The younger Francis lit it up early from three-point range and finished with a game-high 29 points, leading the sixth-ranked Trojans to a convincing 72-52 win Tuesday night over crosstown rival Tyler Grace that kept All Saints unbeaten and all alone atop the TAPPS District 2-4A standings.
Aston Francis scored 14 of his 23 first-half points in the opening quarter, helping All Saints (28-2, 6-0) to a 22-12 lead on Grace (12-15, 5-2) at the end of the first period. The sharp shooter, who played sparingly in the second half, knocked down two of his three 3-pointers in the game's first eight minutes.
"Our game plan was the opposite; we were going to go inside-out," Eddie Francis said. "But he gets on runs when he's feeling it, and he can shoot the ball with anyone. He really got us off to a good start, and then I thought some other kids stepped up in the second half."
Sophomore wing Sean Phillips came off the bench to score 14 points to go with six rebounds and three steals. His breakaway dunk midway through the fourth period sent the spirited crowd at Brookshire Gym into a frenzy and put an exclamation point on an All Saints victory it led throughout.
"I have tremendous respect for Grace; their whole athletic program is first class," Coach Francis said. "Tyler is very fortunate to have the quality of private schools that it does. It's a very unique situation, and we just enjoy it. It's a great experience for our kids every time we play. It's just a fun atmosphere and fun environment to be a part of."
Jaired Maddox, despite an off-night from the field, finished with 10 points and three rebounds for All Saints. Spencer Ball added eight points, six boards and two assists, Clayton Smith had seven points and a pair of assists, and Luke Lee chipped in with three points, a game-high 10 rebounds and two steals.
All Saints' aggressive defense played a large role in the outcome. The Trojans picked up 14 steals, many of which led to easy buckets in transition.
"I thought that we forced them to stay out of their offense," Coach Francis said. "We did a pretty good job of keeping it out of Trevor Gunter's hands. I think he's one of the best post players in East Texas, and that was a tribute to Luke Lee's defense on him, but also the ball pressure on the guards.
"We're at our best when we're in transition. The games we've lost this year have been because teams have taken us out of it."
Gunter still finished with 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Grace, but the 6-6 senior did most of his damage in the second half, after All Saints had already built an 18-point lead. Andrew Melhart added 19 points, while Garrett Tauscher finished with eight points, three boards and three steals in the loss.
All Saints also held a 37-24 edge in rebounding for the game.
Aston Francis scored the first seven points for All Saints, and his second personal 7-0 run pushed the Trojans' lead to 22-9 in the closing seconds of the first quarter. He then was responsible for six of All Saints' first eight points in the second, which stretched his team's lead to 30-16 with 3:41 to play until halftime.
"I think he's a pretty good player," Coach Francis said of his son. "He's worked really, really hard and I couldn't be prouder. As proud as I am of him as a player, I'm more proud of him as the young man he is."
All Saints travels to Bullard Brook Hill on Friday night, while Grace returns to action next Tuesday at home against Brook Hill.
No. 6 Tyler All Saints 72, Tyler Grace 52
TAPPS District 2-4A Boys Basketball
At Brookshire Gym, Tyler
Grace 11 13 7 21 -- 52
All Saints 22 20 12 18 -- 72
GRACE (12-15, 5-2) -- Trevor Gunter, 21; Andrew Melhart, 19; Garrett Tauscher, 8; Caleb Wadle, 3; Caleb Culver, 1.
ALL SAINTS (28-2, 6-0) -- Aston Francis, 29; Sean Phillips, 14; Jaired Maddox, 10; Spencer Ball, 8; Clayton Smith, 7; Luke Lee, 3; Patrick Pulliam, 1.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Grace: Melhart (2), Wadle. All Saints: Francis (3), Phillips.