Mesquite came to Tyler Friday night with a clear plan on how to overcome Robert E. Lee stars Ciara Johnson and Bre Brooks.
The Lady Skeeters doubled Brooks and shadowed Johnson, forcing the ball out of their hands. The end result was Mesquite dealing Lee a 61-49 loss to drop REL to 20-7 and 3-2 in District 11-5A.
It is the second consecutive district setback for the Lady Raiders, who now has to regroup before playing at Longview on Tuesday.
“They played a great game, that is all there is to it,” said Lee coach Lloyd Mahaffey. “They outplayed us. They executed their game plan to perfection.”
With Lee point guard Brooks forced to beat two and sometimes three defenders while the remaining Lady Skeeters focused on Johnson, REL committed 24 turnovers.
Johnson was held to two points in the pivotal fourth period after she scored 13 in the first half. The junior still finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Brooks finished with seven points, 10 assists and six steals, but it wasn’t enough.
Mesquite (17-8, 3-2) is now tied with Lee and Mesquite Horn for second in the league standings.
“I was very proud of my kids,” said Mesquite coach Jan Newland. “We had four keys to our game: we had to stop our turnovers, we had to out-rebound them, outhustle them and be aware of where (their two scorers were).”
Mesquite had 12 turnovers and out-rebounded, Lee 37-30. The Lady Skeeters had three players score in double figures, led by Briana Caro, who finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Viershanie Latham also had a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 boards.
REL began the fourth period with a 7-0 run to lead 43-40 on a trey from Brooks and baskets from Dajah Thompson — finished with 12 points — and Tree Brooks.
The Lady Skeeters responded with an 8-2 run to go ahead and never look back.
“We knew that they’d be tired (in the fourth period) because they weren’t deep,” Newland said of Mesquite’s fourth-period strategy. “So we had to push the ball up the floor.”
Johnson scored inside to cut REL’s deficit to 48-47 with 4:13 remaining, but Lee managed one basket the rest of the game.
The game began auspiciously for Lee as the Lady Raiders won the opening tip, but an REL player scored on the wrong basket.
REL trailed from that point on, falling behind by as many as seven points, 19-12, early in the second period.
Bre Brooks and Johnson willed the Lady Raiders back into the game as the two combined to help Lee close the half on a 10-2 run and tie things up, 28-28 at the halftime break.
Mesquite 61, Robert E. Lee 49
Robert E. Lee919813 —49
MESQUITE — Ajsia Smith, 0; DezAray Gardner, 6; Brittany Pearson, 0; Cemetra Jenkins, 12; Briana Caro, 19; Michelle Espinoza, 1; Viershanie Lathan, 18; Chelsea McHenry, 2. FG: 24-63. FT: 9-12.
ROBERT E. LEE — Berjae Lewis, 0; Ciara Johnson, 19; Bre Brooks, 7; Tree Brooks, 7; Dajah Thompson, 12; Dominique Thomas, 0; Emem David, 4. FG: 23-61. FT: 2-5.
THREE POINT GOALS — MES (4-12): Caro (4). REL (3-19): Johnson, B. Brooks, T. Brooks.
RECORDS — Mesquite 17-8 (3-2); Robert E. Lee 20-7 (3-2).
NEXT UP — DeSoto at Mesquite, 7 p.m. Tuesday; Lee at Longview, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Mesquite 60, Lee 32
MESQUITE — Parker, 9; Harris, 10; Robinson, 14; Alsend, 9; Spriggs, 8; Williams, 2; Viveros, 8.
ROBERT E. LEE — Watson, 4; Thorne, 3; Shurap, 2; Gray, 4; Dews, 9; Clewis, 10.
THREE POINT GOALS — M: None. L: Thorne.
NEXT UP — DeSoto at Mesquite, 5 p.m.; Lee at Longview, 5 p.m. Tuesday.