Robert E. Lee started fast and was never threatened in a 68-47 win over Lufkin on Monday afternoon at Lee Varsity Gymnasium.
The Lady Raiders were led offensively by junior Ciara Johnson, who finished one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 32 points and grabbing nine boards. Senior point guard Bre Brooks finished one assist shy of a double-double, scoring 25 points to go with nine assists and five rebounds.
Lee (14-4) began the contest on a 13-3 run with Johnson and Brooks both connecting on 3-pointers as the scoring duo finished the game with three treys apiece.
“We always want to set the tempo early because once you do that, it usually sets it for the rest of the game,” Lee coach Lloyd Mahaffey said. “I talked to them every game about that ... letting them know what we are here for and they do a good job of that. It’s the latter part of the game where we are wearing down, slacking off and losing mental focus.”
Lufkin (7-6) cut the lead to under double digits to nine points, 18-9, early in the second period off a basket from Kassie Jones. Thanks to nine second-period points from Jones – who finished with 23 points and seven rebounds to lead the Lady Panthers – the Lady Panthers stayed within nine of Lee for the rest of the period before a three-point play by Johnson and jumper from Brooks at the buzzer made it 34-20 at halftime.
The Lady Raiders put any thoughts of a Lufkin comeback to bed in the opening minutes of the third period. With Johnson and Brooks leading the way, REL used a 13-0 run to make the score 47-20.
With the lead 51-30 at the end of the third, Mahaffey pulled his starters for the opening minutes of the fourth, but was forced to put them back in after Lufkin used a 7-0 run to slice the lead to 51-37.
Brooks and Johnson silenced the Lady Panthers for good, helping Lee answer with a 10-0 run to close out the contest.
REL missed numerous open shots, but was able to overcome because of its dominance on the glass. Dajah Thompson paced the team with 11 rebounds while Emem David finished with nine boards. All told, Lee outrebounded Lufkin 41 to 19. The Lady Raiders also had 10 steals, led by Chasity Tennyson, who finished with four swipes to go along with seven points.
The Lady Raiders are back in action today against Paris (3-6) with tip off set for 2 p.m. at REL Varsity Gym.
Robert E. Lee 68, Lufkin 47
Lufkin 7 13 10 17 -- 47
Robert E. Lee 16 18 17 17 -- 68
LUFKIN – Alexis Sanders, 5; Kassie Jones, 23; Erica Hodge, 4; Alexis Sowell, 3; Jada Larue, 4; Ebony Williams, 6; Zhane Anderson, 2. FG: 19-56. FT: 3-7.
ROBERT E. LEE – Ciara Johnson, 32; Bre Brooks, 25; Dajah Thompson, 2; Chasity Tennyson, 7; Emem David, 2. FG: 26-64. FT: 8-13.
THREE-POINT GOALS – LUF (4-11): Jones (2), Sanders, Sowell. REL (6-17): Johnson (3), B. Brooks (3).
RECORDS – Lufkin 7-6; Robert E. Lee 14-4.
NEXT UP – Lufkin at The Woodlands, Jan. 6; Paris at Lee, 2 p.m. today.