The two points Ryan senior forward Kimani Henderson prevented were far greater than the one point she scored on Friday night against Lewisville.
For a few, fleeting moments, the Lady Farmers on the verge of stealing a District 5-5A victory on the road.
Those moments disappeared when Henderson swatted away a potential game-winning, buzzer-beating layup to give Ryan a 42-41 win.
“Every time they got offensive boards, they were putting them back up and scoring on them,” Ryan head coach Monesha Allen said. “The block was big.”
Henderson’s block sealed Ryan’s first District 5-5A win.
The Lady Raiders were led by senior forward Carissa Sanders’ 17 points and junior guard Ashtyn Lovett’s 16 points.
After leading for most of the game, the Lady Raiders (6-13, 1-2 district) quickly found themselves trailing after Lewisville used a 9-0 scoring run to take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Turnovers and a lack of rebounding allowed the Lady Farmers (14-10, 0-3) to take the lead and the game’s momentum.
“We had three turnovers in a row, and when we have turnovers, especially at half-court, they’re going to score on the other end,” Allen said.
Ryan was struggling to score in the fourth quarter, but Lewisville bailed out the Lady Raiders with fouls that sent the home team to the free-throw line.
And from there, Ryan did what the Lady Farmers could not. The Lady Raiders only hit one field goal in the fourth quarter, but they knocked down all six of their free throws in the fourth. Lewisville missed 13 of its 20 free-throw attempts in the game.
“They were making their free throws and we weren’t,” Lewisville head coach Charlotte Jones said. “We got ourselves in four trouble, and we couldn’t afford to do that.”
Lewisville senior guard Monisha Neal scored a game-high 20 points despite playing with three fouls for most of the game.
The Lady Farmers struggled early against Ryan’s zone defense and the Lady Raiders led 10-1 at one point in the quarter.
Key players on both sides were in foul trouble in the first half as the teams combined for 26 fouls and a parade of players to the free-throw line.
Sanders gave Ryan a little breathing room with a key three-point play with 12.2 seconds left in the first half, and the Lady Raiders led 23-16 going into halftime.
Sanders, Henderson and junior center Faith Pittman played the entire game and helped the Raiders pick up a necessary win.
“I told the girls this is a must-have,” Allen said. “If you want to compete and slide into the playoffs, this is a must-win. It starts here.”
Lewisville 59, Ryan 37
Lewisville jumped out to an early lead against Ryan in the second half of Friday’s double header and cruised to a 59-37 win. It was the district opener for both schools.
The Fighting Farmers’ full-court press caused havoc early on and the team ranked No. 11 in Class 5A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches forced 19 turnovers, with 14 of those coming in the first half.
“They’re a very good basketball team, and they’re state-ranked for a reason,” Ryan head coach Bryce Overstreet said. “We’ve got room for improvement and we’ll do that. We’ll get better.”
Lewisville senior guard Diamante Langston scored a game-high 20 points. The Raiders (6-11) were led by junior guard Ibrahim Logan’s 16 points and junior guard A.J. Hill’s 10 points.
Ryan trailed 29-16 at halftime, and while the lead swelled in the second half, Overstreet said he was pleased with how the team responded in the final two quarters and was proud of the way his team fought against the Fighting Farmers (15-3).
“We had two good days of practice [this week], and I felt like we competed to the end,” Overstreet said. “That’s all I can ask of these kids, is to continue to work hard. I’m extremely proud of their effort throughout this game.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.