The Robert E. Lee girls and boys teams fell behind by double digits in the first half before both teams made big runs in the second half against rival John Tyler.
One team made up the deficit, the other did not.
The Lady Raiders rallied from down 14 in the first quarter to stun the Lady Lions 60-56 while the Raiders couldn't make up a 17-point halftime deficit in a 68-56 loss in a District 11-6A doubleheader on Friday night at the Lions Den.
The Lee girls (13-12, 4-3 11-6A) finished the first half of district play on a high note by moving into sole possession of fourth place while the JT girls (15-8, 5-2) fell into a tie for second with Rockwall after a second straight loss.
The Lions (8-11, 2-3) broke out of a four-way tie for last and into fifth place, one game back of Rockwall-Heath for the final playoff spot, while the Red Raiders (7-11, 1-4) remained in a three-way tie in last with two games left in the first round of district.
Robert E. Lee, prone to poor starts this season, jumped out to a 12-6 lead five minutes into the game and led 18-16 after one quarter.
Then John Tyler caught fire, shooting 10 for 13 (including 3 for 4 from long range) in a big second quarter that ended on a 20-3 run to give the Lions a 40-23 advantage at halftime.
The Red Raiders rallied within 54-53 midway through the fourth quarter before the Lions closed out the game at the free-throw line, hitting 14 of 21 shots at the line in the final frame.
"We just stayed locked in and wanted the game, needed the game," JT coach Cedeno Clark said.
Bryson Smith paced JT with 17 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and three steals but the Lions received a big boost from Ke'Andre Street.
A sophomore with all of two varsity games under his belt coming in, Street was given his first start and came through with 16 points and six rebounds. He scored seven in the fourth quarter.
"My teammates, they saw that I was hot so they kept feeding me," Street said. "I just let the game come to me."
Kirby Mabry scored a game-high 21 points to go with 15 rebounds and two blocks for the Red Raiders despite battling foul trouble.
John Tyler outscored Lee 24-5 in the second quarter, exploding for 11 points in the final 2:30.
The Lions scored five points in the final 20 seconds when Kadavion Key hit a 3-pointer and Mashaud Moore converted a layup after a steal to send JT into the half up 17.
"The way the game goes, it's going to be back and forth in games like this," Clark said. "We needed that quarter, we needed that. It was huge, it was absolutely huge."
Moore tallied 12 points and seven rebounds while Key finished with 12 points, eight in the vital second quarter.
"I was running the plays and my teammates were finding me and I was knocking shots down," Key said.
But as one would expect in a rivalry game, Lee didn't go down without a fight.
As good as JT was in the second quarter, Lee was nearly as good in the third, closing the gap to six heading to the fourth quarter and making it 48-46 on a runner by Isaiah Davison (eight points).
The Lions pushed their lead back to four only for the Red Raiders to come back again. A bucket by Mabry with 4:05 to play pulled Lee within 54-53 but Street and Moore hit two free throws apiece to extend the lead to five and Lee never got any closer.
Early in the girls game it looked like Robert E. Lee would struggle to keep up with John Tyler, which was eager to bounce back from a Tuesday loss that ended a 10-game winning streak.
But after going down 19-5 late in the first quarter and despite foul trouble for two key players, the Lady Raiders battled back behind the play of Ke'Aja Lacy and Alyssia Thorne.
Lacy scored a game-high 17 points and hit two go-ahead buckets in the final quarter. She also had two assists to Thorne for tie-breaking buckets, the second giving Lee the lead for good at 58-56 with 0:57 remaining.
"It never ceases to amaze me - kids step up in this game that you may not necessarily know will step up," first-year REL coach Ross Barber said.
"Ke'Aja Lacy tonight was unbelievable. She's a gamer. Tonight was her night. She didn't rush things, she let the game come to her, she took smart shots and she set her feet. She can shoot when she does that and she played out of her mind tonight."
Thorne finished with 10 points while Aaliyah Morgan and Ja'Kayla Bowie added 11 apiece while both dealt with foul trouble. Morgan had team highs of eight rebounds and four blocks before fouling out with 1:37 to play.
Stephen F. Austin signee Alyssa Mayfield racked up 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for John Tyler while Destini Whitehead added 14 points. Bri Criss chipped in with 11 points while Daz Johnson pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Lacy hit a corner 3 with 4:49 left to give Lee a 46-45 lead, its first advantage since 2-1 in the first quarter.
A 3-point play by Thorne gave Lee a 56-53 advantage but it was soon wiped out after a step-back 3-pointer by Mayfield with 1:17 left, JT's last bucket.
Thorne then scored on the other end and the Lady Raiders stepped up their defense to hold the Lady Lions scoreless in the final minute to secure the win.
"That one's huge, huge momentum builder for us," said Barber, a former Lee basketball player. "They're a great basketball team. (John Tyler) coach (Carlesa) Dixon does a fantastic job. ... First class lady and first class kids.
"It just proves that this rivalry brings out the best in kids. And it's unbelievable to be a part of it again."
Robert E. Lee 60, John Tyler 56
Lee 7 20 10 23 - 60
John Tyler 19 15 8 14 - 56
LEE-Heavunli Reese, 5; Miya Pettigrew, 0; Shelby Malone, 0; Tyreesha Blaylock, 6; Ja'Kayla Bowie, 11; Tayanna Ross, 0; Aaliyah Morgan, 11; Hannah Haynes, 0; Ke'Aja Lacy, 17; Alyssia Thorne, 10. FG: 20-46. FT: 18-25.
JOHN TYLER-Kaleon Grant, 2; Alyssa Mayfield, 17; Destini Whitehead, 14; Shay Johnson, 7; Zee Jones, 0; Jaz Hicks, 0; Bre Staten, 0; Daz Johnson, 5; Bri Criss, 11; Keke Lee, 0. FG: 19-66. FT: 14-25.
THREE POINT GOALS-REL (2-10): Lacy (2). JT (4-21): Mayfield, Whitehead (2), S. Johnson. REBOUNDS-REL 34 (Morgan 8); JT 48 (D. Johnson 13). STEALS-REL 5 (Haynes 2); JT 10 (Mayfield 3). ASSISTS-REL 8 (Pettigrew 2, Blaylock 2); JT 8 (Mayfield 2, Whitehead 2). BLOCKS-REL 6 (Morgan 4); JT 1 (D. Johnson). TURNOVERS-REL 21; JT 19. FOULS-REL 20; JT 21.
RECORDS-Lee 13-12 (4-3); John Tyler 15-8 (5-2).
NEXT UP-Rockwall-Heath at Lee, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; John Tyler at Rockwall, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
John Tyler 68, Robert E. Lee 56
Lee 18 5 19 14 - 56
John Tyler 16 24 8 20 - 68
LEE-Jalen Smith, 7; Isaiah Davison, 8; Curtis Jones, 0; Christian Horton, 0; Mike Donnell, 9; Keashun Davis, 5; Kirby Mabry, 21; Bryce Harden, 2; Stephen McLendon, 0; Chance Amie, 4; Tobias High, 0; Korbin Casey, 0; Caleb Culver, 0. FG: 22-59. FT: 9-14.
JOHN TYLER-Bryson Smith, 17; Demontae Johnson, 2; Gerald Berry Jr., 3; Kadavion Key, 12; Wesley Horn, 0; Keldrick Stinnette, 0; Brad Blaylock, 6; Darry Moore, 0; Mashaud Moore, 12; Ke'Andre Street, 16. FG: 22-57. FT: 21-31.
THREE POINT GOALS-REL (3-22): Smith, Davison, Davis. JT (3-9): Smith, Key (2). REBOUNDS-REL 39 (Mabry 15); JT 36 (Smith 11). STEALS-REL 2 (Davison, Harden); JT 8 (Smith 3). ASSISTS-REL 9 (Donnell 4); JT 8 (Smith 4). BLOCKS-REL 2 (Mabry); JT 6 (Smith 4). TURNOVERS-REL 18; JT 8. FOULS-REL 23; JT 20.
JV SCORE-John Tyler 65, Lee 60 (JT 4-1 in 11-6A).
RECORDS-Lee 7-11 (1-4); John Tyler 8-11 (2-3).
NEXT UP-Lee at Rockwall-Heath, 7 p.m. Tuesday; Rockwall at John Tyler, 7 p.m. Tuesday.