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Mesquite Clinches District 12-5A Boys Basketball Title in 59-54 Win at Longview

LONGVIEW — Twice Longview led Mesquite through three quarters of their District 12-5A meetings. Twice Mesquite came back in the fourth to win.

The Skeeters used a late 7-0 run to take control of the game in the final minute en route to a 59-54 victory at Lobo Coliseum on Friday to deny the Lobos of their first outright district championship since 2004 and second since 1997.

With 1:28 remaining, Longview’s D’Keilan Lynch hit a floater in the lane for a 49-48 Lobo lead, but Mesquite immediately answered, scoring on a Rashard Higgins layup 10 seconds later to regain the lead.

Mesquite got a stop and two Higgins free throws for a 52-49 lead with 35.5 seconds left. Longview threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds pass, putting the Lobos in deep trouble. Mesquite capitalized as Higgins found Davion Keys for a layup-and-foul, giving the Skeeters a three-point play and 55-49 lead with 28.8 seconds to play.

Mesquite stretched the lead to seven, 58-51, with 7.4 seconds on Alex Cooper’s free throws before Longview’s Stephon Anthony hit a three, but the deficit was still four points with only two seconds remaining.

“Mental breakdowns. Two turnovers. We threw the ball away on the inbounds, we left a guy open on an inbounds for (a basket). We just lost our focus a little bit down the stretch and it kinda came back and got us,” said Longview coach Billy Goffney. “In that situation you’ve gotta know to be patient, and I shoulder that responsibility. That’s something that I’ve gotta harp on more. Come this time in the season you’ve gotta be playing smart. You hear all about athleticism and all that stuff, but it’s about playing smart and doing smart things. You gotta finish around the basket. You gotta make the free throw. It’s stuff we’ve gotta work on.”

Mesquite, which erased a 14-point second-half deficit at home against Longview in January to come back for a 59-57 win, had nine players score, which was in stark contrast to the first Skeeters’ victory against the Lobos. Mesquite had only three players score in that game.

Higgins led Mesquite (21-9, 10-1) with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. He scored 14 second-half points, including seven points and one assist in the final four minutes. Cooper had 12 points and three assists, but the Lobos held him in check most of the game with a box-and-1 defensive set. Dejohn Shealey added 11 points, including nine in the second half, while Dameon Gamblin had six points and six boards.

“I thought for the most part we defended well and did some things well. We just had a couple of mental breakdowns down the stretch,” Goffney said. “We got ourselves in a situation where we could’ve put a little space between us. We just forced some stuff when we could’ve just pulled it out and worked around and got to the basket again. We had (a) three(-point lead) but we never could get to five. Still young. Most of them it’s their first time on varsity.”

Jordan Whitaker led Longview (19-13, 9-3) with 12 points and six rebounds. Dorian Leonard and Stephon Anthony scored nine points apiece, while Zaycoven Henderson had seven points, eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.

“We’ve just gotta get ready for the playoffs. Either way this one is over,” Goffney said. “We know we’re second or third (in district) so we’ve gotta start concentrating on Naaman Forest or Garland Sachse and get ready to play again. Back to 0-0.”

If Mesquite beats Mesquite Horn on Tuesday, Longview enters the Class 5A Region II playoffs as the No. 2 seed. If Horn beats Mesquite, Horn and Longview may have to play again to decide the No. 2 seed since they split their district head-to-head.

Mesquite led 12-9 after a first quarter that saw five lead changes. Longview closed the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 24-21 lead to halftime. The third quarter also included five lead changes, the final coming on Lynch’s free throws with 35 seconds left for a 38-37 lead.

Longview kept that lead until Higgins hit a game-tying three-pointer with 3:46 remaining to knot the score 44-44. The teams played to three lead changes in the next 2 1/2 minutes, leading to Mesquite’s 7-0 game-deciding run.

District 12-5A
Boys Basketball

Mesquite 59, Longview 54

Lobo Coliseum, Longview

Mesquite — 12 9 16 22 — 59
Longview — 9 15 14 16 — 54

Mesquite (21-9, 10-1) — Rashard Higgins 16, Alex Cooper 12, Dejohn Shealey 11, Davion Keys 7, Dameon Gamblin 6, Earon Johnson 3, A.J. Johnson 2, Jamarquez Scott 1, Javante Wilson 1.
Longview (19-13, 9-3) — Jordan Whitaker 12, Stephon Anthony 9, Dorian Leonard 9, Zaycoven Henderson 7, D’Keilan Lynch 6, Cadell Williams 5, Jaleel Bourque 2, J’Mycal Hasty 2, Travin Howard 2.

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