John Tyler Girls Take Down Longview In Opening Round Of Class 5A Playoffs
TENAHA -- The playoff road for John Tyler will get much steeper later this week following a 76-41 Class 5A bi-district playoff win against Longview.
That being said, displaying their signature press at times, the Lady Lions showed they probably belong in a stronger arena of competition Monday at the Tenaha Special Events Center.
"The press usually gets people tired," John Tyler head coach Mike Smith said. "Hopefully, they have to have a bunch of players. By the fourth quarter, if things are going the way we want them to, most of the time we can outlast. We're fortunate enough that we have a good bench."
Smith's team -- a District 16-5A co-champion, the sixth-ranked team in the final Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' Class 5A poll and the league's second seed after losing a coin toss against Lufkin -- recorded eight steals in the game as part of 25 total turnovers for Longview (19-12) and scored 13 points off their steals.
In contrast, the Lady Lions (30-2) only gave away the ball eight times without attempting a shot.
The Lady Lobos, the third seed from District 15-5A, shot 32.4 percent from the floor. It was not enough to overcome John Tyler's plus-17 margin in possessions, compounded by 42.6 percent shooting.
Junior forward Alyssa Mayfield opened scoring from the field on a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter as part of an 13-2 Lady Lions opening run. Longview never cut the lead beyond eight points.
Destini Whitehead, a sophomore forward, led five John Tyler players in double digits with 17 points, including three successful shots from behind the arc. Shakendra Tilley scored 13 points while Mayfield finished with 12. Ashtyn Beal and Daz Johnson chipped in 11 each.
Beal also recorded three assists.
Nine of 12 players on John Tyler's playoff roster scored in the game.
Chandler Peoples put up a team-best 13 points for Longview. Nyelan Powell added 11 points.
No Lady Lobos player scored more than four field goals through the game. Fourteen of their 41 points came on free throws. Two scores followed a John Tyler technical foul.
"I think that we had been waiting on the playoffs for so long that we came out a little tight," Smith said. "I could see that. The way we started the first quarter. But we loosened up in the second half, the third and fourth quarters. We started to play transition basketball and that's what they're most comfortable doing."
Longview will graduate seniors Aisja Gray and Stephonique Mitchell in May. The rest of its 12-player roster should return next season, including the full starting lineup it used in the playoff meeting.
The Lady Lions will face Mansfield Legacy in the Class 5A area round at 7 p.m. Thursday inside Forney High School.
Legacy eliminated Dallas South Oak Cliff elsewhere Monday as District 14-4A's fourth seed.
"They're very tough," Smith said. "They were all bottled up in second place. Timberview is the No. 1 team in the state and undefeated. But then there was (Mansfield) Summit, Legacy, Waxahachie and even (Mansfield) Lake Ridge that were all tied for second and third until the very last game. There's not an ounce of difference between any one of them. We're going to have our hands full."
No. 6 John Tyler 76, Longview 41
Class 5A Bi-District Playoff Game
At Tenaha Special Events Center, Tenaha
Longview 6 9 20 6 -- 41
John Tyler 15 18 19 24 -- 76
LONGVIEW (19-12) -- Chandler Peoples 13, Nyelan Powell 11, Aisja Gray 9, Deyonna Daniels 4, Journey Greene 2, Jakayla Rowlett 2.
JOHN TYLER (30-2) -- Destini Whitehead 17, Shakendra Tilley 13, Alyssa Mayfield 12, Ashtyn Beal 11, Daz Johnson 11, Kaleon Grant 4, Kaleigh Hackett 4, Brea Criss 2, Shay Johnson 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Longview: Gray. John Tyler: Beal (3), Whitehead (3), Mayfield.