TYLER -- It's hard to say which team has the more meaningful win through two games of a three-game series between John Tyler and Mesquite Horn.

On one hand, the Lady Lions' victory last month clinched the Dallas ISD Holiday Invitational championship and showed the team that it can compete against a pretty big swath of Texas. But Horn's 64-54 victory Tuesday in Tyler was the only one that has bearing on playoff positioning, and it is now the last unbeaten team within District 11-6A competition.

"We felt good coming in because we knew we were able to play with Mesquite Horn," first-year John Tyler coach Carlesa Dixon said. "Being able to beat them in a big tournament felt good, but we also knew Mesquite Horn was going to come in here and bring it. We knew that. We knew that we were going to see a different type of Mesquite Horn team. They'd want it more, and we did not raise up to that level like we should have tonight."

The Lady Lions (15-7, 5-1 in the district) remained close to Horn (19-5, 6-0) after giving up the lead for good with 32 seconds left in the first half. Down 58-52 inside the game's final 3:30, the squad shot 1-for-7 from the field before Horn managed to reach 60 points on sophomore guard N'yah Brown's fadeaway look.

Boyd came up with back-to-back steals on John Tyler's following two possessions. Horn managed to convert those takeaways into four points and had its largest lead at the buzzer.

Dixon's crew entered the game on a 10-game unbeaten streak -- which included the win against Horn in Dallas -- yet it didn't look the part in this particular game. It shot 21-for-60 from the field and committed 23 turnovers.

Horn shot 29-for-61 the other way and managed eight less giveaways.

"Honestly, we're ready to get back into the gym and figure those things out," Dixon said. "We've got to knock some shots down and we've got to pick it up on defense. Our defense wasn't there for the whole game. We played in spurts. Against a team like Horn, you can't play in spurts. You have to be locked in the whole game."

An 18-6 run through the first half's final 6:28 allowed Horn to erase the Lady Lions' largest lead, 24-16. Boyd scored eight points in the span on the way to game-best 23.

Tray'Liyah and Adrianna Belton, both underclassmen, reached double digits as well for Horn with 15 and 13 points.

Stephen F. Austin signee and John Tyler guard Alyssa Mayfield scored a team-best 18 points. Daz Johnson and Destini Whitehead added 14 and 11 points, respectively, but Horn managed to hold the four other Lady Lions' scorers to three or less points.

Horn will try to maintain the lead on the rest of the District 11-6A pack Friday against Rockwall-Heath as the first go-around of league play comes to an end. It will host the Lady Lions on its home floor Feb. 3.

John Tyler completes its first circuit against the district Friday at home against crosstown rival Tyler Lee. The game will be Dixon's first as part of the rivalry.

"For us, every game from here on out will be the biggest game of the season," Dixon said. "I know it's a rivalry game for us, but we're going to approach it just like any other game. We're not going to look too far ahead. We'll begin preparing for Lee tomorrow."


Mesquite Horn 64, John Tyler 54

District 11-6A
At John Tyler High School

Horn                   16      18       11   19     --   64
John Tyler           20     12       10    14      --  54
Horn (19-5, 6-0) -- N'yla Boyd 23, Tray'Liyah Washington 15, Adrianna Belton 13, Jonna McDonald 7, Blessing Esomchukwu 2, Umaja Collins 2, Jene Samuels 2.
John Tyler (15-7, 5-1) -- Alyssa Mayfield 18, Daz Johnson 14, Destini Whitehead 11, Kaleon Grant 3, Jaz Hicks 3, Shay Johnson 3, Bre Staten 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Horn: McDonald, Washington. John Tyler: Johnson.

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