LONGVIEW — When the ball left Marshall guard Chris Jones' hands, John Tyler's Ja'Khari Lewis had one simple, continual thought running through his mind.
"Don't make it," Lewis said. "I was just hoping he wasn't going to make it, so we could win."
The 3-point shot did not go, but John Tyler is going somewhere — the area round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Led by 24 points from junior Jacob Owens-Bush, the Lions edged Marshall 84-82 Wednesday in a Class 5A bi-district playoff at Solheim Arena.
The Lions (20-12) advance to face Mansfield Summit on Saturday afternoon in either Terrell or Forney. Marshall, the No. 22-ranked team in Class 5A, finished the season with a 31-2 record.
Marshall's Jay McKnight led all players with 25 points while Jones finished with 20, but couldn't get the final buzzer-beating shot to fall.
Lewis scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as JT built a 74-62 lead. After Marshall came back to tie the game with 3:12 remaining, Lewis responded with a strong drive and a 3-pointer to give the Lions a lead they would not relinquish.
"I didn't want to lose," Lewis said. "I don't want to go home. It's my senior year and I just wanted to take it upon myself and step up.
"It's big because no one believed we could do it. The people from Tyler didn't come (tonight to support us), so we had to show we could do it."
With JT leading 81-76, Marshall clawed back to within a point, thanks to two free throws from McKnight and baskets by Tiandre Jackson-Young and Shimar Jones.
Jones' basket occurred with 8 seconds remaining.
With both teams out of timeouts, JT got the ball inbounds and Owens-Bush was fouled with six seconds remaining. He made the first free throw but missed the second.
Jackson-Young rebounded the miss for Marshall and quickly got the ball to Jones, who was racing down the court. Jones got his shot off before the buzzer, but it fell short, setting off a celebration by the JT players and coaches.
"I (wish) we had played the whole game like we had the final three minutes," Marshall coach Bobby Carson said. "We didn't play with that sense of desperation often enough."
The game featured a plethora of lead changes through the first three quarters. JT lead 22-21 after the first quarter and 43-41 at halftime.
The Lions pushed ahead 65-60 at the end of the third before Lewis came out on fire in the fourth to help JT establish a 72-60 advantage.
"We were up by 12 points and (Lewis) had just dunked it to put us up by 12 and we (kind of relaxed)," JT senior guard Martese Christian said about Marshall's comeback. "We just got so hyped and they slowly came back on free throws. But our coaching was the difference. They coach us all the time and it showed (tonight)."
Class 5A Bi-District Playoff
John Tyler 84, Marshall 82
John Tyler 22 21 22 19 —84
Marshall 21 20 19 22 —82
JOHN TYLER — Martese Christian, 15; Bryson Smith, 0; Tavian Teal, 0; Patrick Williams, 4; Rodney Bendy 2; Carlin Gray, 2; Jacob Owens-Bush, 24; Ja'Khari Lewis, 22; J'Michael Jasper, 15. FG: 31-57. FT: 16-24.
MARSHALL — Trell Patton, 9; Shimar Jones, 7; Jay McKnight, 25; Chris Jones, 20; Marje Smith, 2; Kamrein Robinson, 0; Curtis Kador, 2; Tyler-Ray Leonard, 2; Tiandre Jackson-Young, 13. FG: 27-72. FT: 24-29.
THREE-POINT GOALS — JT (6-13): Christian (2), Lewis (4). MAR (4-20): McKnight (4).
RECORDS — John Tyler 20-12; Marshall 31-2.
NEXT UP — John Tyler vs. Mansfield Summit, Saturday afternoon, Terrell or Forney.