In a game that boiled down to the final minute, Robert E. Lee foiled John Tyler’s comeback bid.
After seeing a double-digit lead with five minutes left evaporate, Lee scored the last three points on Taylor Tankersley’s bucket underneath and Jarrod Coleman’s free throw, and forced JT into a missed shot and turnover in the closing seconds, to pull out a 50-47 win Monday at Tyler Junior College’s Wagstaff Gymnasium.
The non-district barn-burner went into the final minute deadlocked, then turned in Lee’s favor after Coleman fed Tankersley down low, who used an up-fake to put the Red Raiders back in front (49-47) with 44 seconds remaining.
JT freshman Ken’Darrion Johnson, who netted 15 points in a breakout performance, missed an off-balanced 3-pointer, and Lee milked valuable time off the clock before the Lions finally put Coleman at the free throw line for two attempts with six seconds remaining.
Coleman canned his first shot before a lane violation wiped out the follow-up. Out of timeouts, JT inbounded from the far end. Coleman capped the victory when he stripped JT’s Caleb Willis near the 40-foot line with the Lions hurrying to launch a 3-pointer as time ticked off. Willis topped all scorers with 16 points.
Lee (4-1) captured its second straight win in the series, getting big games from the trio of Coleman (11 points, six assists), Tankersley (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Evan Tomlinson (12 points, four steals).
Lee leaked out in transition often, beating JT on fastbreak points (8-2) and points inside the paint (28-12).
“I just think the consistency of our style of play (is why we won),” Robert E. Lee head coach Alan Johnston said. “Tomlinson hit big threes, Coleman gets to the lip of the rim and Tankersley goes down and scores on the block. We’re undersized but they play a lot bigger than they stand. I thought we won because we made plays at the right time.”
JT (0-2), ranked No. 18 in Class 4A, remained winless on the young season. JT never trailed in the first half, leading by as many as six points before Lee used Tankersley’s putback and Tomlinson’s trey to knot the score at 20-all heading into the intermission.
Lee controlled the second half, never falling behind over the final 12 minutes. Lee led by as many as 10 points after Tankersley snuck inside for a deuce to make it 44-34.
Johnson nearly stole the show, scoring seven points in a three-minute span to help JT get within two points before Tra’Vion Horn knocked down a pair of free throws to even the score at 47 with 1:04 showing.
JT received little offense outside of Johnson and Willis. JT shot the ball well, hitting 51 percent from the field and 100 percent (12-for-12) at the free throw line. JT failed to score, however, over the final 1:12 of the first, the final 2:41 of the second and the last 2:12 of the third period.
“We’ve got to do a better job of running our offense and executing down the stretch,” JT head coach Tony Pinson said. “They beat us down the floor on some transition at times. They made shots at the end and we didn’t.”
Robert E. Lee 50, John Tyler 47
Robert E. Lee 8 12 17 13 — 50
John Tyler 12 8 10 17 — 47
ROBERT E. LEE—Jarrod Coleman, 11; Evan Tomlinson, 12; Taylor Tankersley, 14; Tucker Boyd, 5; Clint Prewitt, 8. FG 18-39 FT 12-20.
JOHN TYLER—Jordan Caldwell, 4; Keaunte Humber, 4; Caleb Willis, 16; Ken’Darrion Johnson, 15; Tra’Vion Horn, 6; Jorian Jackson, 2. FG 16-31 FT 12-12.
THREE-POINT GOALS—REL 2-8 (Tomlinson 2), JT 3-10 (Willis 2, Johnson). REBOUNDS-REL 23 (Tankersley 10), JT 22 (Johnson, Horn 5). ASSISTS-REL 9 (Coleman 6), JT 2 (Willis, Johnson).
TOTAL FOULS-REL 12, JT 14.
RECORDS—Robert E. Lee 4-1; John Tyler 0-2.
NEXT UP—Robert E. Lee at Hoop Heaven Tournament in Lindale, Thursday-Saturday; John Tyler at Dallas South Oak Cliff, 7:30 p.m., Tuesday.