Tyler Lee Grabs First District 12-5A Win By Escaping North Mesquite in Five
TYLER — It wasn’t easy, but the Tyler Lee Lady Raiders captured their first District 12-5A victory of the season.
Lee overcame an overpowering effort from North Mesquite’s Blake Stonebarger to come away with a five-game victory, 22-25, 26-24, 25-16, 24-26, 15-10, on Tuesday night at Lee Varsity Gymnasium.
“I feel we’re fortunate to come out with (a win) because we came out flat the whole match,” Lee coach Melissa Lee said. “I don’t know what our problem was, but it just seemed like we were flat all night.”
The Lady Raiders (20-9), who dropped their 12-5A opener to Rockwall-Heath on Friday night, evened their league mark at 1-1. North Mesquite (7-16), meanwhile, was handed its first district loss.
Time and time again, the Lady Stallions relied on the hitting of Stonebarger, who pounded the Lee defense for 26 kills.
“She was wearing us out,” Lee said of Stonebarger. “We couldn’t get a block on her. We’ve just got to get a blocker in front of her.”
But the Lady Raiders were able to provide just enough resistance in crunch time to deliver the win. Rebekah Bowden came up with two of her match-high eight blocks in the decisive fifth set.
“I think Rebekah got some key blocks at important times,” Lee said. “Right when we needed one, it seemed like she came up with one.”
Mallory Kuechle led Lee with 18 kills, while Kenshai Moseley, Caroline Lynch, Alexis Crowder and Bowden combined for 21 kills. Melissa Menard and Chelsea Geter each contributed 18 assists.
Carisha Reed had 10 kills and Vann Dunn registered nine for North Mesquite in defeat. Emily Edwards chipped in with five blocks, while the duo of Heather Allen and Brianna Daniels assisting on 42 points.
Lee looked to be in control after taking a 2-1 lead with 25-16 victory in Game 3, but the Lady Stallions overcame a late push by Lee to force a fifth game with a 26-24 win.
The Lady Raiders jumped out to 3-0 lead in the fifth set, and led 11-6 after Bowden’s first block of the game. Another Bowden block spurred a 3-0 run that pushed Lee’s lead to 14-8. A pair of Stonebarger kills cut the deficit to 14-10, but Lee was able to clinch the match on a kill by Moseley set up by Geter.
North Mesquite took the opening set, before Lee took advantage of several Lady Stallions service errors in its 26-24 win in Game 2.
“They gave it to us, and we have to take advantage of that,” Lee said. “We just weren’t clicking tonight; I can’t explain it.”
The Lady Raiders return to the court Friday at Longview.
“Our district is probably wide open. (Rockwall-Heath) may be out there, but the rest of us we just need to understand that we can play with everybody else,” Lee said.
Notes: There was a moment of silence prior to Tuesday’s match to remember lives lost on the Sept. 11, 2001. … The national anthem was performed by the Lee girls head basketball coach Lloyd Mahaffey.