Tyler Lee Girls Cruise Past Longview in District Test, 57-38
TYLER -- In its biggest game of the season to date, Tyler Lee struck first.
The Lady Raiders hosted Longview on Tuesday evening and both teams entered tied with Rockwall and Mesquite Horn atop the district standings. After a first quarter led by Alyssia Thorne and Hannah Haynes, Lee found itself in the driver's seat, going on to win 57-38.
Because Rockwall and Horn also won Tuesday evening, the Lady Raiders are still tied for first place in District 11-6A.
The Lady Raiders (21-5, 4-1) set the tone early in the first quarter. Thorne infiltrated the defense to hit several midrange shots while Haynes nailed a couple of early 3-pointers to get the momentum on Lee's side. They finished with a combined 12 points as the Lady Raiders led 19-6 after the quarter.
"They were leaving her and they were worried about Aaliyah Morgan," coach Ross Barber said. "That’s expected. She stepped up and made shots and forced them to go into less pressure (on Morgan) than they wanted to cover (Thorne). She set a tone all night getting to the middle of the floor and finding that open gap and taking smart shots."
Thorne finished with 17 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists in the victory. And, like Barber said, Morgan got going later on. Lee didn't settle for its 13-point lead. It would build on it with the combination of Morgan and Thorne in the second. Morgan was already flirting with a double-double at halftime, when Lee led 33-11.
Morgan finished the game with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Lady Raider defense also forced Longview (18-6, 3-2) to commit several turnovers. Barber praised his team's defense after the game, specifically its ability to produce steals.
“We did some differently defensively with their dribble handoffs," he said. "I thought we stepped up to that challenge. They are a really, really good basketball team. They’re really quick. They do a really good job of trying to beat you on dribble penetration. I thought we helped on that all night. I thought we really limited shots and our posts were hedging hard. We forced them into some tough situations. We were able to step into their passing lanes and get some layups.”
It wasn't until the second half that Longview scored 26 of its eventual 37 points.
Tyler Lee will move on to face Mesquite Horn (14-8, 4-1) at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Mesquite with yet another chance to separate itself atop the standings.
Longview will look to bounce back against Mesquite at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Lobo Coliseum.