Robert E. Lee waited 13 games before it finally was able to play on its home floor and the Red Raiders delivered a record-breaking performance.
Lee (9-5) defeated Pine Tree 53-14 on Friday at Varsity Gymnasium. The 14 points were the least allowed in school history. It beat the previous mark of 18, done in 1973 against Frankston.
“This team set a Robert E. Lee record and throughout the season we’ve held people below their season average,” said Lee coach Alan Johnston about his defense.
Junior Taylor Tankersley scored 20 points to lead Lee as the Red Raiders scored the game’s first 29 points. Pine Tree (0-10) did not get on the scoreboard until a basket from Lamarcus Allen with 3:57 to play in the second period.
In the opener of Lee’s basketball doubleheader, the Lady Raiders (13-4) received 32 points from junior Ciara Johnson and 22 by senior Bre Brooks to defeat Waco, 79-62.
The Red Raiders did not allow Pine Tree to get any shots off, forcing turnovers on the Pirates’ first seven possessions. Lee, with its typical raucous student section cheering with each steal and basket, outscored Pine Tree 22-0 in the opening period.
“It was fun for the boys to finally play at home,” Johnston said. “For the guys to play here and send each out with a Christmas gift ‘W’ before the holidays was a win-win deal for us.”
Tankersley scored 16 points in the first half before sitting with the rest of the starting five most of the second half. Austin Fleet also chipped in nine points for the Red Raiders, who totaled 13 steals and forced Pine Tree into 21 turnovers.
Pine Tree’s Garrett Rayburn scored five points while Allen finished with four points to pace the Pirates.
“We are giving the guys a 10-day break and they deserve it,” Johnston said. “The kids need a break and the coaches need one too. We just wished them well and told them we’d see them (after Christmas).”
Waco (8-10) and Lee matched each other during the first period but REL began to pull away in the second and Johnson made sure of the result in the second half.
“We had a really good week of practice and the kids really have started to gel a little better,” said Lee coach Lloyd Mahaffey. “We played so many ballgames at one time (because of tournaments); we talked about the kids having roles and doing what they do well. They came out and I thought they played a heck of a ballgame.”
Senior point guard Bre Brooks enabled Johnson to get off to a slow start as the North Texas signee scored 18 points in the opening two periods. Johnson was held to two free throws in the first, but got going in the second to score 10 as Lee went in at halftime with a 43-32 lead.
In the second half, Brooks and Johnson took turns torching Waco with the guard going coast-to-coast twice on layups while Johnson connected on jumpers and three-point plays. Johnson also began to assert herself more in the paint. After being held to three rebounds in the first half, Johnson finished with 11 to go along with two blocked shots. Brooks also had seven steals.
“We made an adjustment at halftime and I talked to them about rebounds,” Mahaffey said. “In the first half they outrebounded us and I thought we did a much better job.”
The Lady Raiders built a 72-44 lead in the opening minutes of the fourth period before the starters were pulled. Waco used a 15-3 run to cut the lead to 16, 75-59, but REL finished off the game after that.
Lee will next be in action at 1 p.m. Monday against Paris.
Robert E. Lee 79, Waco 62
Waco 16 16 10 20—62
Robert E. Lee 16 27 23 13—79
WACO — Shamari Marshall, 2; Armorio Pittman, 20; Raven Goode, 3; D.D. Simmons, 6; Taylor Dean, 5; Diamond Ervin, 5; Dontavia Watson-Bible, 2; Shamiya Blake, 11; Jade’ Carroll, 8. FG: 24-61. FT: 13-23.
ROBERT E. LEE — Shreece Pryor, 2; Ciara Johnson, 32; Bre Brooks, 22; Tree Brooks, 11; Dajah Thompson, 6; Emem David, 6. FG: 29-76. FT: 14-27.
THREE-POINT GOALS — WACO (1-6): Pittman. REL (6-23): Johnson, B. Brooks (2), T. Brooks (3).
RECORDS — Waco 8-10; Robert E. Lee 13-4.
NEXT UP — Paris at Lee, 1 p.m. Monday.
Robert E. Lee 53, Pine Tree 14
Pine Tree 0 4 7 3—14
Robert E. Lee 22 14 8 9—53
PINE TREE — Byrondrick Davis, 2; Garrett Rayburn, 5; Caleb Chumley, 2; Lamarcus Allen, 4; Chris O’Connor, 1. FG: 2-9.
ROBERT E. LEE — Jarrod Coleman, 2; Austin Fleet, 9; Brandon Tucker, 2; Luke Derfus, 5; Evan Tomlinson, 4; Taylor Tankersley, 20; Will Dougherty, 6; Tucker Boyd, 5. FG: 20-43. FT: 6-9.
THREE-POINT GOALS – PT (0-1): None. REL (4-15): Tankersley (3), Boyd.
RECORDS — Pine Tree 0-10; Robert E. Lee 9-5.
NEXT UP — Lee at Suddenlink Dragon Classic, Dec. 27-29.