The Christmas holiday did not get off to a good start for Robert E. Lee boys basketball. Mesquite Horn made sure of that.
The visiting Jaguars raced out to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and did not allow the Red Raiders back in the game in an eventual 68-35 loss for REL Wednesday afternoon in its District 11-6A opener at Varsity Gymnasium.
"The best thing about this is we get five days off to regroup, visit family and friends and remember what this is all about; come back on December 27th and be ready for the TJC tournament," REL coach Alan Simmons said about the district loss, which dropped the Red Raiders to 4-7 overall.
"They did a great job (with their zone) and they packed it in. We've have a hard time scoring from the perimeter … (Mesquite Horn) also came into our gym and shot lights out. That is really what happened."
Mesquite Horn (5-9, 1-0) finished with four players in double figures, led by Darrius Etier's 11 points as he connected on two of the Jaguars' eight 3-pointers they had through three quarters. B.J. Williamson, Jaren Hill and Caleb Harston all chipped in 10 points while the three combined for nine rebounds.
The Red Raiders did not have a player in double figures with Jalen Smith hitting all three of Lee's treys for his team-high nine points. Isaiah Davison finished with eight points and five rebounds.
Lee committed 21 turnovers in the game.
Mesquite Horn began the contest by forcing a turnover on Lee's opening possession and getting a 3-pointer the other way. REL cut its deficit to 12-8 on a jumper by Davison with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter, but Horn closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run.
The Jaguars then began the second quarter with a three-pointer from Williamson. REL did not attempt a shot from beyond the arc in the first quarter, going 3 for 11 overall in the opening frame, but Smith let loose from long distance twice with baskets by Caleb Culver and Davison able to pull REL within single digits of Horn, 31-20 with 2:35 left in the half.
A basket by Williamson gave Horn a 33-27 lead at the break.
"I challenged the guys at halftime that we needed to win the boards, we can't give up second-chance points," Simmons said. "I don't think they missed in the third quarter, so there wasn't a chance for second-chance points."
Mesquite Horn was 8 of 13 from the floor and 5 of 7 from three-point range in the third quarter, eliminating any chance of an REL comeback and stretching its lead to 54-27 entering the fourth.
The hot shooting continued for the visitors in the final frame with the Jaguars making 8 of 13.
The Red Raiders were 5 of 24 in the second half and went 1 for 13 from beyond the arc in the final two quarters.
"We moved the basketball; it wasn't like we forced something up and it's frustrating for them and I understand that," Simmons said of Lee's offensive struggles. "I thought our defense, we didn't play a bad game, but you combined we can't score with them shooting lights out in your gym. We just didn't match their level today."
Lee stays in Tyler for the holidays to compete in the Wagstaff Holiday Classic.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to open up against Jacksonville at 8 p.m. on Dec. 27 at Tyler Junior College's Wagstaff Gymnasium.
Mesquite Horn 68, Robert E. Lee 35
Mesquite Horn 20 13 21 14 - 68
Robert E. Lee 8 12 7 8 - 35
MESQUITE HORN-Jacoby Grant, 7; Jaquarius Harris, 2; Julian Coleman, 0; Darrius Etier, 11; B.J. Williamson, 10; Shaakil Brown, 2; B.J. Iroha, 2; Khalil Brown, 6; Jaren Hill, 10; Caleb Harston, 10; Orlando Lawrence, 2; Oric Walker, 4; Roderick Brewer, 2; James Jander, 0. FG: 27-58. FT: 6-8.
ROBERT E. LEE-Jalen Smith, 9; Isaiah Davison, 8; Curtis Jones, 0; Christian Horton, 0; Mike Donnell, 2; Keashun Davis, 0; Kirby Mabry, 4; Bryce Harden, 1; Stephen McLendon, 0; Chance Amie, 7; Tobias High, 0; Korbin Casey, 0; Brandon Wade, 0; Caleb Culver, 4. FG: 13-48. FT: 6-9.
THREE POINT GOALS-MH (8-22): Grant, Etier (2), Williamson (2), Brown, Hill (2). REL (3-20): Smith (3).
RECORDS-Mesquite Horn 5-9 (1-0); Robert E. Lee 4-7 (0-1)
NEXT UP-Lee vs. Jacksonville, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27 at Wagstaff Holiday Classic, Tyler Junior College
Lee Red 70, Mesquite Horn 42
Mesquite Horn 0 9 19 14 - 42
Robert E. Lee 22 14 14 20 - 70
MESQUITE HORN-Barnett, 5; Boyd, 5; Emory, 3; Coleman, 2; King, 18; Maxwell, 1; Hancock, 8.
ROBERT E. LEE-Bryce Campbell, 6; Elliott Davison, 3; Miles Minnick, 19; Devin Wilson, 19; Mick McGrew, 2; J.J. Jones, 6; Jamal Ligon, 7; Chad Daniels, 5; Jeremiah Turner, 3.
THREE POINT GOALS-MH: Barnett, Boyd, King (2), Hancock. REL: Wilson (3), Daniels