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Girls basketball: Means' 19 points lift Denton past Ryan in district opener

Denton went on the road Friday and nabbed a win in the District 5-5A opener. For the Lady Broncos, the icing on the cake was that it came against the defending district champs.

Jamie Means scored 19 points and Denton never trailed in a 45-32 win over crosstown rival Ryan at Billy Ryan Gym. Ryan, which lost 12 seniors from last year's regional semifinalist team, trailed by as many as 19 in the second half while suffering its first loss to Denton since 2015. 

"These girls have goals, and if you want to achieve them you have to start off on the right foot and win on the road," Denton coach Erin Taylor said. "Our girls did a good job of executing tonight."

That execution was evident from the start. Denton (6-11, 1-0 district) jumped out to an 11-3 lead. The Lady Broncos led by nine at halftime and kick-started the second half with a 12-2 run. Four players scored for Denton during that second-half surge, including Means, who had 15 of her points going into the final eight minutes.

Ky'lie Scott and Taylor Pierce each scored six points for Denton.

"I'm tired of using inexperience as an excuse," Ryan coach Monesha Allen said. "We have an entire preseason under our belt, and we need to do a better job of executing. We didn't live up to our potential tonight and we let 35 have herself a night."

Ryan's best quarter statistically was the second. The Lady Raiders scored 13 points in that frame and got a 3-pointer from Aubrie Pitts. But they still trailed by nine at halftime. Denton never looked threatened and built its comfortable lead despite not hitting a 3-pointer all game.

"We weren't always perfect out there, but it was one of the better jobs we've done so far this season," Taylor said. "We talked a lot about being patient and always looking for the best shot, not just the open shot. Ryan is always going to be a good program, and to win this first game is big."

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Denton 45, Ryan 32

Denton 11 14 12 8 -- 45
Ryan 3 13 6 10 -- 32

Denton (6-11, 1-0) -- Jamie Means 19, Ky'lie Scott 6, Taylor Pierce 6, Alex Bradley 4, Melissa Rwehumbiza 4, Taylor Howell 3, Eden Davis 3.
Ryan (4-10, 0-1) -- Aubrie Pitts 8, Tija Burns 7, Kannessia Holbert 6, Latavia Jackson 4, Kayra Thompson 3, Megan Edwards 2, Halle Rucker 2.