Matt Jones finished with a game-high 21 points as DeSoto pulled away in the second half to beat Robert E. Lee, 50-31, in District 11-5A boys basketball action Tuesday night at Varsity Gymnasium.
The sixth-ranked Eagles (21-4, 2-0) outscored the Red Raiders 36-17 in the second half to turn a tied game at the break into a one-sided affair. Lee fell to 16-7 on the season and 0-2 in district with the loss, and will look to rebound on the road Friday against Mesquite.
“They are talented team,” Red Raiders coach Alan Johnston said. “They’ve got talented players. They’re huge. But our kids battled and I’m proud of them.”
Jones, a junior, has verbally pledged to the Duke Blue Devils and ranks 28 overall on the Rivals150 for the nation’s 2013 recruiting class. He started slow as the teams entered the break tied 14-14, but picked up his play with 15 points in the second half.
He completed a three-point play to give the Eagles their first double-figures lead of the night, 36-26 with 6:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. DeSoto’s final 11 points came at the foul line, a stretch in which the Eagles made 11 of 12 in the final 3:44.
“They’re traditionally a solid basketball team and they showed why today,” Johnston said. “They’ve got all the intangibles, good guard play, solid on the interior and good perimeter players.
“(Jones is) pretty good. He’s a pretty good player and has a chance at being really good.”
Jarrod Coleman finished with 12 points to lead Lee, which scored the game’s first four points and went toe-to-toe with the Eagles for much of the night. The turning point coincided with Red Raiders big man Taylor Tankersley leaving the court with an ankle injury in the third.
“Tankersley gets injured and that hurts us,” Johnston said. “We can’t throw it in the ocean right now; we are iced-cold again. We had the effort, but we just didn’t close out the game when we needed to.”
Instead, DeSoto closed the Red Raiders out. The Eagles outscored the home team 21-7 in the fourth after beginning to pull away in the third, going up by 13 points on their final basket of the night — a 3-pointer by Terry Mason with 4:10 to go.
The rest of their production came at the foul line. Lee, meanwhile, went scoreless during the final 2:54.
DeSoto, the defending league champion, plays host to Mesquite Horn on Friday.
DeSoto 50, Robert E. Lee 31
DESOTO — Evan Tomlinson, 5; Will Dougherty, 4; Jarrod Coleman, 12; Taylor Tankersley, 6; Tucker Boyd, 4.
LEE — Jabril Durham, 3; Avery Lomax, 6; Matt Jones, 21; Terry Mason, 10; Franklin Okeke, 9; Mike Davis, 1.
THREE POINT GOALS — D: Petty, Jones (2). REL: Coleman.
RECORDS — DeSoto 21-4 (2-0); Lee 16-7 (0-2).
NEXT UP — Mesquite Horn at DeSoto, 7 p.m. Friday; Lee at Mesquite, 7 p.m. Friday.
DeSoto 51, Robert E. Lee 37
DESOTO — J. Butler, 2; C. Ortiz, 7; C. Gray, 2; E. Lawerence, 17; C. Carson, 10; R. Johnson, 11; K. White, 2.
LEE — D. Barker, 6; J. Calhoun, 8; J. Brattlof, 6; R. Pulliam, 4; K. Ramsey, 7; J. Barron, 6.
THREE POINT GOALS — D: Ortiz, Lawerence. REL: Calhoun, Ramsey.