WHITEHOUSE —The first meeting went down to the wire. The rematch was decided much sooner.
Before an electric atmosphere, Whitehouse pulled away in the fourth quarter to stop Robert E. Lee 44-33 in a non-district boys' basketball showdown Tuesday night at the WHS gymnasium. The Wildcats took advantage of the Red Raiders' shooting woes in the fourth quarter, capping a game that traced its roots in defense and rebounding.
"We just had to grind it out, "Whitehouse coach Ryan Tomlin said. "It's defense. We had been struggling a bit in our halfcourt and these guys came out and got after it. They missed some shots and we rebounded. To me that was the separation of the game."
The game was heavily hyped heading into the opening tipoff, thanks in large part to Whitehouse beating Lee on buzzer-beater by Jake Parker in the championship game of the Lindale Hoop Heaven tournament earlier this month. Both schools had big student sections that helped nearly fill up the arena.
The packed audience witnessed the teams enter the break tied at 16-16, but the Wildcats outscored the Red Raiders 28-17 the rest of the way to improve to 11-4 on the season. Lee (11-3) struggled from close range into the second half and missed seven of 10 shots from the foul line.
"It was an offensive disaster," Red Raiders coach Alan Johnston said. "That nine-inch ball didn't want to go into that 18-inch hole. We missed too many three- and four-foot shots. The kids played good and did a lot of good things, and we got a lot of quality looks at the basket. But when you're not scoring, that's the name of the game."
Whitehouse junior Jaylon Dews finished with 10 points to lead the Wildcats in scoring, while fellow juniors Patrick Mahomes and Parker chipped in 11 points and 10 points, respectively. Mahomes also pulled down eight rebounds in the paint, plus provided a dazzling assist to junior Ryan Cheatham to give Whitehouse its first double figures lead of the night, 34-23, with 5:07 to play.
The Wildcats increased the advantage to 13 points (37-24) with 1:34 remaining, but the Red Raiders pulled within seven with :25 left before running out of time.
"We ran out of time and that's the way we are looking at it," Johnston said. "Again, I go back to the fact that we weren't finishing and when we went to the free throw line and we didn't finish there. Defensively, other than two or three major breakdowns in the second half, I thought we played a good game."
Lee, a defensive-minded team which has limited 13 of its 14 opponents to less than 50 points this season, was paced by senior Taylor Tankersley's 12 points and 20 rebounds. The 6-6 forward was held scoreless in the third quarter, and provided Lee's first point of the fourth via a free throw with more than five minutes already elapsed off the clock.
That followed the Wildcats going on a 10-run to turn a 24-23 lead with 1:53 to go in the third into an 11-point lead with time becoming crucial in the fourth. Mahomes scored a basket with 3:36 left in the third to give Whitehouse the lead for the first time since the seven-minute mark of the second quarter.
Whitehouse 44, Robert E. Lee 33
Lee 7 9 7 10 -- 33
Whitehouse 7 9 12 16 -- 44
LEE — Taylor Tankersley, 12; Justin DeSalvo, 6; Will Dougherty, 7; Darriun Smallwood, 6; Jack Calhoun, 2.
WHITEHOUSE — Ty Stickley, 2; Spencer Shaw, 4; Jaylon Dews, 12; Ryan Cheatham, 5; Jake Parker, 10; Patrick Mahomes, 11.
THREE-POINT GOALS — REL: Tankersley (2). W: Dews.
RECORDS — REL 11-3; Whitehouse 11-4.
NEXT UP — Rockwall at Lee, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Whitehouse at Pine Tree, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Robert E. Lee 57, Whitehouse 36
Lee 11 7 13 16 — 57
Whitehouse 12 10 8 6 — 36
LEE — Kevin Ramsey, 1; Demodrick Barker, 17; D'Verius Taylor, 6; Eric Barb, 8; Robert Pulliam, 6; Garrett Thibodeaux, 3; John Davis, 7; Rico Major, 3; Matthew Weeks, 2; Josh Bice, 2; Brady Ramsey, 2.
WHITEHOUSE — McDaniel, 9; Gontar, 2; Brooks, 2; Smith, 5; Andrews, 9; Vaughn, 2; Wheeler, 3; Hollie, 2; Bullington, 2.
THREE-POINT GOALS — REL: None. W: McDaniel, Smith.
NEXT UP — Rockwall at Lee, 6:30 p.m. Friday; Whitehouse at Pine Tree, 6 p.m. Friday.
Robert E. Lee 58, Whitehouse 42
Lee 7 22 10 19 — 58
Whitehouse 8 5 13 16 — 42
LEE — Treston Cross, 2; Isjuwan Barker, 8; Quintas Cooper, 2; Zach Hall, 17; Jordan Berry, 12; Grey Calhoun, 4; Kerry Dotson, 4; Quardraiz Wadley, 2; Zach Carder, 7.
WHITEHOUSE — Hand, 4; Mayo, 4; Heck, 5; Williams, 6; Parrish, 13; Clark, 6; Carnahan, 4.
THREE-POINT GOALS — REL: Berry (2), Calhoun. W: None.
NEXT UP — Rockwall at Lee, 5:30 p.m. Friday.