John Tyler shook off a slow start and took down Terrell 83-46 in a runaway victory to open the 2012-13 girls basketball season Monday at the Lions Den.
Senior point guard Tiaka Lee led the JT turnaround, scoring 20 of her game-high 26 points in the second half. JT carried a slim two-point lead into the intermission before blowing the game open.
"The first game is always a gut check. We had helicopters, not butterflies, flying around our stomach," said fourth-year JT head coach Mike Smith. "It was the same way for the seniors (and Tiaka). It's always good to get the first win."
Freshman wing Ashtyn Beal impressed in her varsity debut, finishing with 17 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals.
Quaneshia Johnson netted 15 points and Nola Jackson pulled down 16 rebounds for the Lady Lions, who returned four starters from a 24-win team.
"She is a fantastic, hardworking young lady," Smith said of Beal, whom he complimented on the court and in the classroom. "She spends all summer playing basketball and she loves it. You could tell tonight. We're glad to have her."
JT missed 35 of 43 field goals (12 percent) in a first half that featured sloppy play on both sides, and a combined for 39 turnovers and 25 fouls. The Lady Lions exploded for 57 points over the final two periods, improving their shooting accuracy to 52 percent the last 16 minutes
"At halftime I told the kids, look we have to keep doing what we're doing, but make more shots," Smith said. "In the first game you always take shots you shouldn't. In the second half, they settled down and realized what they were supposed to be doing."
The Lady Lions sped up the pace as planned, totaling 18 points in transition, 12 in the second half.
Lee, last year's offensive player of the year in the district, sparked a 16-0 run with eight points, including a transition jumper and a layup on the break after a steal, to give JT a commanding 53-30 cushion late in the third quarter
Smith emptied his entire bench by the end of the first quarter, with all 11 girls seeing action early. The reserves included freshman Kaleigh Hackett, who also played in JT's 72-4 win in the junior varsity contest.
Terrell tired down the stretch, going the entire third period minus a field goal, and more than 11 minutes total.
Terrell turned the ball over 42 times against JT's constant pressure. Lee matched Beal with five steals, with Tameal Jones (nine points) taking away four balls.
Kiara White netted a team-high 24 points or Terrell, going 13-for-19 from the free throw line.
"We have to make that our advantage. We have a deep bench and each one goes in and does their job," Smith said. "If we're going to play at the pace for four quarters, it's going to put a lot of pressure on other team."
John Tyler 83, Terrell 46
Terrell 11 13 7 15— 46
John Tyler 14 12 27 30— 83
TERRELL — Angela Randolph, 5; Arnesia Henderson, 0; Amber Brown, 5; Kiara White, 24; Shitandra Mattox, 2; Jasmine Ransom, 0; Samantha Hayter, 4; Courtney Hubbard, 6. FG 11-39 22-34.
JOHN TYLER — Ashtyn Beal, 17; Tiaka Lee, 26; Tameal Jones, 9; Quaneshia Johnson, 15; Key-Ana Tatum, 0; Amia Wickware, 7; Donishia Rouege, 2; Nola Jackson, 5; Jasmine Hill, 0; Kayla Webb, 2; Kaleigh Hackett, 0. FG 30-85 FT 16-30.
THREE POINT GOALS — Terrell: 2-8 (Hubbard, White); JT: 7-29 (Lee 3; Johnson 2; Beal, Jackson). REBOUNDS - Terrell 41 (Brown 9), JT 57 (Jackson 17). ASSISTS - Terrell 6 (Henderson 2), JT: 15 (Beal 6). TOTAL FOULS - Terrell 25; JT: 25. TURNOVERS - Terrell: 42; JT: 23.
RECORDS — Terrell 0-1; John Tyler 1-0.
NEXT UP — T.K. Gorman at John Tyler, 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 12.