TYLER -- Lufkin overcame a tough start, then a late push to survive its first-round playoff matchup Monday night.

The Panthers hung on for a thrilling 57-55 win over Mesquite in their Class 6A Region II bi-district affair at Wagstaff Gym.

Lufkin (22-12), which finished third in the 12-6A standings, will face either Garland Lakeview Centennial or Richardson Berkner later this week in the area round of the postseason.

Mesquite, the 11-6A runner-up, finished its season at 21-12.

The Panthers held a five-point lead with 10.2 seconds remaining after a Jeremiah Davis free throw, but Mesquite pulled to within three points, 57-54, with 0.8 seconds to play on an offensive putback from Grant Stewart.

Lufkin was then called for a foul on the inbounds pass, which sent Mesquite's Aaron Sanders to the foul line for two shots with 0.6 seconds remaining.

He made the first shot, then after missing the second intentionally, Lufkin corralled the rebound to seal the victory.

Courtnee Garcia led Lufkin's attack with 17 points, including a team-high three 3-pointers. Kordell Rodgers finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and eight assists, while Ja'Courtney Calvin chipped in with eight points and nine boards.

The Panthers overcame a strong performance from Mesquite guard Anthony McGee, who poured in 28 points, which included five 3-pointers.

McGee and Mesquite began the game on fire, jumping out to a 15-6 lead, eight of those points coming from the Skeeters' senior playmaker.

Lufkin rebounded with an 11-0 run to take the lead, and did not trail until McGee's fifth 3 of the night gave Mesquite a 49-48 advantage with 3:32 remaining in the game.

But the Panthers put together a 6-1 run in the game's next two minutes to regain control.

Lufkin 57, Mesquite 55

Boys Class 6A Region II Bi-District Playoff
At Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gym

Lufkin                  11    17    10    19    —    57
Mesquite             15      9      9    22    —    55
LUFKIN (22-12) — Courtney Garcia, 17; Kordell Rodgers, 11; Ja’Courtney Calvin, 8; Ke’Vonte Hurts, 6; Jeremiah Davis, 5; James Jefferson, 5; Kodie Callison, 2; Breylon Garcia, 2; Nick Wilson, 1.
MESQUITE (21-10) — Anthony McGee, 28; Aaron Sanders, 11; Grant Stewart, 8; John Milton, 6; Isaiah Brown, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS Lufkin: C. Garcia (3), Rodgers. Mesquite: McGee (5).