John Tyler pushed two-time defending 5A state champion Flower Mound Marcus to the wire, only to fall short again trying to get its first win of the season.
Flower Mound Marcus scored seven of the final eight points to beat JT 54-44 on Tuesday at the Lions Den.
The Marauders made their first seven 3-point attempts, five from hot-shooting guard Jake Holden, who led all scorers with 23 points.
The Lions scored seven straight to get within one point (35-34) late in the third period. Holden answered with his final trey to make it 38-34 going into the final frame.
The margin remained at four near the 75-second mark. Holden made a pair of free throws for a 49-43 lead with 1:12 showing, and finished off a 7-0 run with a three-point play to get it to 54-43 with 15 seconds showing.
Marcus (1-1) bounced back from a loss in its opener as the Marauders continued to transition under first-year coach Clay Cody. The Marauders graduated mainstays Phil Forte and Marcus Smart, both now at Oklahoma State, before Danny Henderson accepted the Duncanville job after leading Flower Mound to 115 wins his final three seasons, including a trip to the 2010 state tournament.
JT finds itself rebuilding as well under first-year head coach Cedeno Clark, who inherited a team with zero returning starters.
"It's a process but we're getting better every game," Clark said. "They are the two time defending champion, but of course they lost (a lot from last year). But still it's a good program."
Holden hit all seven attempts from the field and made his final four free throws on the night. Aaron Steele (10 points, five assists) and Sean Campbell (10 points, nine rebounds) rounded out the attack for Marcus.
Holden drained a 3-pointer for the game's first points, and scored eight in the first four minutes as Marcus jumped out to a 10-3 lead.
JT closed the first half with a trey from Jacob Owens-Bush, and opened the third with a money shot from Hennessey Lampkin to cut a 10-point deficit to four (31-27). JT held Marcus to one field goal over an eight-minute stretch before pulling within one.
The Lions stayed in the game thanks to 10 second-chance points, and topped the Marauders on the boards (28-25).
Owens-Bush, a 6-1 freshman, paced JT with 16 points and eight rebounds. Owens-Bush sunk five of six shots from the field, including three of four from long range.
Jordan Caldwell contributed 10 points and four rebounds to the JT cause.
"Anytime you trade 3s for 2s it's tough," said Clark, whose team shot 35 percent from beyond to arc compared to 88 percent for Marcus. "The kids gave up only seven points in the third quarter. We're just building off this game trying to get better. They're going to get there, as long as they keep believing in the staff and working hard."
Flower Mound Marcus 54, John Tyler 44
FM Marcus 15 16 7 16 — 54
John Tyler 8 16 10 10 — 44
FM MARCUS— Michael Mayhew, 5; Aaron Steele, 10; Soika, 2; Jack Holden, 23; Sean Campbell, 10; Michael Wheeler, 2; Keaton Southerland, 2. FG 18-39 FT 10-13.
JOHN TYLER— Jordan Caldwell, 10; Martese Christian, 0; Keaunte Humber, 4; Javonte Tramble, 2; Jacob Owens-Bush, 16; William Vaughn, 5; Vernon Thomas, 4; J'Michael Jasper, 0; Hennessey Lampkin, 3. FG 15-46 FT 8-15.
Three-point Goals—FMM: Holden (5), Steele (2), Mayhew; JT: Owens-Bush (3), Caldwell (2), Lampkin. Rebounds—FMM: 25 (Campbell 9), JT 28 (Owens-Bush 8). Assists—FMM: 10 (Steele 5), JT 6 (Humber 2). Turnovers—FMM: 10, JT 10. Total Fouls—FMM: 16, JT 14.
RECORDS — Flower Mound Marcus 1-1; John Tyler 0-4.
NEXT UP — Flower Mound Marcus at Denton, 2:30 p.m. Saturday; John Tyler vs. Robert E. Lee, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.