Alyssa Mayfield’s OT Buzzer Beater Keeps John Tyler’s Season Alive
MABANK -- John Tyler overcame a 15-point deficit and clinched District 11-6A's fourth and final spot into the playoffs Friday in a tiebreaker game against Rockwall-Heath at Mabank High School.
Alyssa Mayfield's shot from the top of the key right off an inbound pass from Destini Whitehead fell in with no time remaining in overtime. The last-second score ended Heath's season and set the Lady Lions up with Lufkin in the bi-district round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
"Destini was going to throw it in and I was like, 'I know she's going to find me on this one,'" Mayfield said. "She found me, she threw it up and I got it. As soon as I let it go, my eyes were wide. It went in, and I am so thankful."
That basket capped a 26-point performance for Mayfield, a senior forward and Stephen F. Austin signee. Twenty-four of her tallies came after the first half.
John Tyler (19-12) caught all the breaks in the final minutes of regulation and in overtime.
After Mayfield knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game, 50-50 with 36 seconds left in regulation, Heath (16-13) gave the ball right back to the Lady Lions on a half-court violation. The gaffe allowed John Tyler to hold for the final shot of regulation.
Heath, which lost to John Tyler by 30 points on the road and then defeated the Lady Lions by 15 at home in the regular season, blinked twice in the final five seconds of overtime.
A player stepped on the baseline while fishing out a defensive rebound, but John Tyler turned the ball over with its renewed possession. A second Heath player got her feet tangled with Lady Lions guard Ke'Vonshay Johnson and traveled just after receiving the inbound pass with 1.6 seconds remaining.
Whitehead got the ball at that point and found Mayfield for the winner.
John Tyler had already used all of its timeouts, so the inbound play was more or less instinctive.
"We practice that all the time," Whitehead said. "That's just one of our main plays when it gets down to crunch time. It's really designed for Alyssa. She went and got it."
That was the game's highlight for the Lady Lions. The rest of the contest wasn't exactly pleasant.
Heath jumped out to a lead 33 seconds into the meeting, ultimately led by a margin as big as 16-1 and maintained that lead until the final 4:48 of regulation.
John Tyler went more than six and a half minutes without a score from the field in the first quarter and committed five of 10 first-half turnovers in the same span. It ultimately shot 4-for-19 and trailed 23-14 at halftime.
Mayfield had two points at that juncture in time.
Shooting percentages went up and turnovers went down in the second half. The Lady Lions converted 12 of 19 shots -- a 300 percent increase -- and managed two less giveaways in the frame.
But it rarely felt like it was meant to be. Heath initially had answers when the Lady Lions got too close.
Up 39-36 after a Mayfield trey cost it some momentum, Heath's Trinity Cannon drew a foul at the rim and converted both free throws. When Mayfield hit a second consecutive 3-pointer her next time up the floor and Heath missed its next shot, Alexa Hoy came up with a block and a steal to keep her side in front.
Mayfield finally got the game tied at the 4:48 mark of the fourth quarter, but the tie lasted only about half a minute.
John Tyler got its first lead, 45-44, with 2:01 left in regulation. Jazmyne Hicks knocked down two free throws.
That advantage was gone in 20 seconds.
Heath led by three points with 53 seconds to play. Mayfield's third and final 3-pointer of the game at the 36-second mark eventually forced overtime.
"All season, we've made it hard for ourselves," Lady Lions coach Carlesa Dixon said. "But the one thing I do know about my team is they keep fighting."
Overtime was, by far, John Tyler's best segment of the game. It shot 50 percent from the field and only committed one turnover.
Heath surrendered three overtime possessions without getting a shot away, which hurt because the team scored on four of its five overtime attempts.
Kaleon Grant and Daz'Monique Johnson joined Mayfield in double digits on the winning side. They scored 12 points and 11 points, respectively.
Hoy led Heath with 19 points in her final high school game. Macy Wilkerson put up 16 points.
Eight of 11 Heath players will return to the varsity roster next season.
"That was a strong team," Mayfield said. "We beat them bad the first time we played them, but their shooters came alive the second time. I think we did a better job against those shooters today. And we had heart."
John Tyler 60, Rockwall-Heath 58
District 11-6A Fourth-Place Game
At Mabank High School
Heath 18 5 13 14 8 -- 58
John Tyler 4 10 13 23 10 -- 60
Heath (16-13) -- Alexa Hoy 19, Macy Wilkerson 16, Megan Higbee 8, Trinity Cannon 6, Jasmine Norman 5, Morgan Talley 4.
John Tyler (19-12) -- Alyssa Mayfield 26, Kaleon Grant 12, Daz'Monique Johnson 11, Destini Whitehead 6, Mya Bills 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Heath: Wilkerson (2). John Tyler: Mayfield (3), Grant.