Fifth-Ranked Spring Dekaney Escapes John Tyler In Regional Semis
DALLAS -- John Tyler was not able to get a shot off from beyond mid-court and its season ended Friday at Ellis Davis Field House in the Class 6A Region II semifinal round, 66-63, to Spring Dekaney.
Still, it wasn't a bad two weeks for a program that scraped into the postseason with a last-second score in the District 11-6A playoff game for the fourth and final seed out of the league.
"This team never quits," coach Carlesa Dixon said about two minutes after elimination. "They proved that by even reaching the regional tournament. Nobody expected us to even be in the playoffs. I'm very proud of my girls. They have a lot of fight, a lot of heart, and I'm proud of them."
The thing is, the game was there for the Lady Lions' taking. They led most of the way and as late as the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter against the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' fifth-ranked team in the state's largest classification.
More than that, John Tyler (22-12) was tied with Dekaney (33-4) for the final time inside the final 2:06 of regulation.
Dekaney earned its permanent edge after nine previous lead changes on a layup by sophomore guard Amanda Ferry and then won five consecutive offensive rebounds to stay in charge.
Ferry and company went up 66-60 with 19.6 seconds to play.
With John Tyler enjoying the double bonus, Destini Whitehead got fouled at the 11.6-second mark. She hit the first shot, intentionally missed the second attempt and Imaria Staten got a put back to fall.
The Lady Lions, who were working against the double bonus the other way, struggled to land a foul. Nine seconds rolled off the clock before Staten tagged Mikayla Capone.
Capone missed both of her free throws and Staten pulled down the second-shot rebound. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough time to get back up the floor and the year ended with the ball in Whitehead's hands some 60 feet from the goal.
"You've got to be disciplined and put big bodies on big bodies in situations like that," Dixon said matter-of-factly as she referenced Dekaney's five consecutive offensive boards in the final minutes. "That was the tale of the fourth quarter."
John Tyler held a 9-3 advantage in offensive rebounds at the end of the first quarter, which helped it out to a 12-4 lead less than halfway through the frame. Dekaney ultimately lost the battle of offensive boards by five, 16-11, in its three-point victory.
Dixon's squad shot 21-for-33 from the free throw line. Dekaney made 11 of 33 attempts at the stripe.
Second-half heroes helped Dekaney battle back from a 31-27 halftime deficit.
Ferry, a sixth man that came into the game very early in the first quarter, jumped from zero points at the break to 10. Capone scored four big points down the stretch and didn't make her debut until late in the third quarter. Forward Tatyana Hill had four points at the half and finished with 11.
The Lady Lions didn't benefit in similar fashion. Staten was the only player on the team to have a better second half scoring wise and moved from two points at the break to seven.
Star guard Alyssa Mayfield, a Stephen F. Austin signee, was held to two points in the third quarter after a 15-point first half. She rallied for the first four points of the fourth quarter to give John Tyler a 52-49 lead yet only scored four more points in the final minutes.
Mayfield still had a game-best 25 points and beat the next closest scorer -- Dekaney's Keishawna Scott -- by nine.
"Stephen F. Austin is getting a great player," Dixon said. "A player who will run into a brick wall for you -- Who will do whatever it takes. She's just one of those types of kids that goes hard in practice and goes hard in the classroom. That's something that shows in her play."
Whitehead, who has a North Texas scholarship offer as a junior, had a third-best 15 points among all the contest's scorers.
Dekaney faces Pflugerville today at 2 p.m. in the regional championship game. The winner will advance to the final four in San Antonio next week.
Five of 10 players from John Tyler's roster graduate in May.
Whitehead and two other starters from Friday's game will return to the program next season with regional tournament experience.
"We've got a good five and we're going add some pieces to that," Dixon said. "We're excited about that next year. For them to get in this feel, of knowing what it feels like to get here and to know what it feels like to lose, it's going to make them that much more hungry."
No. 5 Spring Dekaney 66, John Tyler 63
Class 6A Region II Semifinal Playoff Game
At Ellis Davis Field House, Dallas
Dekaney 14 13 22 17 -- 66
John Tyler 15 16 17 15 -- 63
Dekaney (33-4) -- Keishawna Scott 16, Kalea Brooks 13, Tatyana Hill 11, Amanda Ferry 10, Jasmine Smith 9, Mikayla Capone 4, Sierra Dirden 2.
John Tyler (22-13) -- Alyssa Mayfield 25, Destini Whitehead 15, Kaleon Grant 7, Imaria Staten 7, Daz;Monique Johnson 5, J'Kimbria Criss, Jazmyne Hicks 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Dekaney: Brooks (3), Smith. John Tyler: Grant, Mayfield.