Tyler Lee Boys Grind Out Win Against Garland
TYLER -- Maybe small forward Isjuwan Barker should play more guard.
Yeah, maybe not with Zach Hall and Mike Donnell in the fold. But with those two guys out late in the ball game with foul trouble, Barker performed well Tuesday as the emergency point man in Tyler Lee's late 63-59 win against Garland.
A win which pushed the Red Raiders to .500 within early District 11-6A competition in front of a packed student section head coach Jeff Coleman was adamant about crediting in the postgame interview.
"It's great, I'll tell you what," Coleman said. "I just think we've got a chance. I think that if we can take this step and then continue to take small steps in upward mobility, I feel like we have a chance of being a very competitive team in this 6A grind. We just have to be more team oriented. We're going to have to learn to handle pressure situations and make our adjustments quickly."
The home victory certainly can be considered one of Coleman's metaphorical steps. Garland (6-12, 0-2) threw a lot of players at Lee's starters and short bench, successfully managed different offensive paces of play and never fell out of the game even as Red Raider power forward Dephen Walker pounded the lanes for 23 points and 10 boards.
More than not falling out of the game, lead change No. 11 belonged to Garland, 51-47 and then 53-49 at its worst points, with 5:16 and 4:23 to play. Hall and Donnell bowed away from the contest with five fouls apiece to the detriment of Lee (5-8, 1-1) around the same time.
Barker and Walker combined to score nine of the Red Raiders' final 16 points. Barker, who finished with 15 points, additionally recorded a steal and drew three Garland fouls in the span while turning the ball over once at guard.
Together, they mounted a four-point comeback by hitting the front end of their free throws in the double bonus before Barker got a fadeaway jumper to go for a 53-53 score at the 3:14 mark of the fourth quarter.
Three of Garland's next four trips down the floor ended in travels as Lee's defense and a student support group of more than 100 revved it up. Garland only traveled three times all game.
Meanwhile, Kirby Mabry's layup from Isaiah Davidson gave the Red Raiders a 55-53 lead at the 2:01 mark. Walker fed Mabry 30 seconds later for a two-possession lead Garland never fully overcame.
Another basket from Walker and four successful free throws from Barker and Mabry were needed to hang on.
"That was the best game we've had all season," Barker said. "We're ready to fight, keep playing and win some more games."
Walker was the big winner through the full 32 minutes. He recorded two blocks, the clutch assist to Mabry and a steal in addition to his double-double.
The 6-foot-5 forward also threw down the game's only dunk as he moved from coast to coast off his own steal. That gave Lee a 39-34 lead, trying to sustain lead change No. 10.
"We kind of fell apart and they were able to come back and tie it up," Walker said. "We dug deeper and fought even harder. We stayed together as a team, came back and got the win."
Lee finished the first quarter on an 8-2 run for a 16-10 advantage. Garland won the second frame, forcing Barker to beat it in transition with 12 seconds left for a 28-28 score at the break.
Garland got the first three points of the second half. Barker answered with a 3-pointer that would have been good from the NBA line to spur the Red Raiders to a 45-39 advantage ahead of the final quarter.
Jordan Wakefield's 21 points guided Garland. Lance Wright put up another 12 points for the opposition.
Lee shot 9-for-23 from the free throw line. Garland hit 11 of its 16 opportunities.
The Red Raiders visit North Garland at 7 p.m. Friday with an opportunity to jump above .500 in the league. Garland hosts Lakeview Centennial the same day.
"They overcame us for a four-point lead right there at the end of the game," Coleman said. "It seemed like the tide could have turned real easily for them to win the ballgame. We came back and made some plays. Defensive plays. Stops, critical rebounds. We made a few free throws, which was very rare for us tonight. But, overall, they played with the will. The will to win."
Tyler Lee 63, Garland 59
At Tyler Lee High School, Tyler
Garland 10 18 11 20 -- 59
Tyler Lee 16 12 17 24 -- 63
GARLAND (6-12, 0-2) -- Jordan Wakefield 21, Lance Wright 12, Kimonte Rose 8, Josh Thompson 8, Ty Green 6, Bamidele OTunga 2.
TYLER LEE (5-8, 1-1) -- Dephen Walker 23, Isjuwan Barker 15, Chance Amie 8, Isaiah Davidson 6, Kirby Mabry 6, Zach Hall 3, Mike Donnell 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Garland: None. Tyler Lee: Amie, Davidson, Hall.