TYLER -- John Tyler had been here.

The story all season for the Lions was their failure to close out games. With minutes to play in the Rose City Rivalry game at Tyler Junior College, it was happening again.

But coach Cedeno Clark wasn't going to let his second game back from a leave of absence be tarnished. He got his team to come together and close out the game. The Lions held on to a 54-50 victory on Friday.

"They were just hungry for a win," Clark said. "This is one of my favorite teams because they have the total package to be great. If they just buy into everything that they need to do from one quarter all the way until the fourth quarter, then we can finish games like that."

Javion Williams started off the game hot and kept going. He slashed to the basket for easy layups and scored the majority of his points from the paint. He finished with 17 points -- 13 of which came in the first half.

The Lions entered halftime with a 27-16 advantage, seemingly in control of the game. That control continued throughout the third quarter, but came into question during the fourth.

Tyler Lee made a late charge at the lead, led by Xavier Hunter and Matt Wade. The two came up with several rebounds and converted them into second chance points to get the Red Raiders within five with 1:17 to go.

However, John Tyler converted its foul shots and the lead proved too large to overcome. Although Jamal Jones beat the buzzer to score a layup at the end of the game, it was futile, making it only a four-point loss rather than a six-point one.

"I challenged them at halftime to find it in themselves to make each other look good," Tyler Lee coach Alan Simmons said. "I thought we did a much better job in the second half. I thought we grew up in the second half. We can learn from that and we'll get better Tuesday night."

John Tyler next has a matchup with Rockwall at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Tyler Lee will hope to bounce back against Rockwall-Heath at 7p.m. the same day.

Meanwhile, John Tyler will enjoy bragging rights over its city rival.

"That's one of our goals," Clark said. "We always want to win the city championship. That's halfway of wiping it off our goal board because we have a second round with those guys and they will be ready."

Ja'Kayla Bowie finished with 25 points and five 3-pointers to lead Tyler Lee against John Tyler.
Ja'Kayla Bowie finished with 25 points and five 3-pointers to lead Tyler Lee against John Tyler.

Ja'Kayla Bowie leads Tyler Lee girls to victory

TYLER -- Ja'Kayla Bowie held the ball near the 3-point line with a John Tyler defender in her face.

Slowly, the defender started to back up, begging her to pull up. She didn't know what to think.

Bowie had been shredding the Lady Lions all game from 3-point range, but they still seemed to want her to shoot. So she did.

Bowie, who is committed to play at Texas State in the fall, drained that shot -- her fifth 3-pointer of the game -- in what proved to be a dagger for the Lady Lions' hopes of winning. Bowie was the clear best player on the court in a dominating 50-31 victory for Tyler Lee.

"I felt disrespected, so I was going to pull it," Bowie said. "If you're going to back up, I'm gonna shoot it. Simple as that."

Bowie led all scorers with 25 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds to secure the double-double. She finished with five 3-pointers, five steals and three blocks as well. Alyssia Thorne was the next leading scorer for the Lady Raiders with 10.

Tyler Lee was all over the Lady Lions on defense, forcing 10 steals. It also won the rebounding battle, 36-21.

Most importantly, it claimed the Rose City Rivalry, at least until the second matchup.

"It puts us in a good spot to win the first round," Bowie said. "I'm just looking forward to the next game."

Tyler Lee will have Rockwall-Heath on Tuesday, while John Tyler faces North Mesquite at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

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