The Decatur Eagles started strong, but wound up losing their bi-district opener to Dallas Roosevelt Friday, 66-43.
The loss at Flower Mound Marcus High School in Lewisville eliminated Decatur from the playoffs.
Both teams showed some jitters early as the game went back-and-forth on turnovers and missed shots. But an Austin Givens steal and layup tied it at 9 and a Cameron Mize 3-pointer launched the Eagles on a 10-4 run to end the quarter, and it looked like it might be Decatur’s night.
A tenacious press rattled Roosevelt’s ball-handlers, and crisp passing on the offensive end led to points in the paint. Lights-out shooting from Mize and Givens helped keep the defenders off-balance as the drive-and-kick-out offensive system worked to perfection.
But just as quickly as they came on, the lights went out in the second quarter. Decatur went cold and did not score for eight minutes.
Meanwhile, Roosevelt found its rhythm.
Junior guard Roy Johnson, who had 16 points by halftime, started it off with a pull-up jumper, then scored again after a steal to pull his team to within two at 19-17. Senior guard Shawnquez Warfield tied it with two free throws at the 5:37 mark, and Decatur never led again.
Roosevelt’s trapping press forced the Eagles into several turnovers away from the basket, and the Mustangs converted most into easy baskets. Meanwhile, the shots that fell early for the Eagles rimmed out as Roosevelt pulled away to a 13-point halftime lead.
Opening the third quarter, Decatur worked the ball for a solid minute before Johnson got a steal and hit two free throws after a hard foul by Mize. Another steal and fast-break bucket made it 36-19 before Mize drilled a three-pointer at the 6:22 mark to end the Eagle drought.
As it went on, the game got more physical, typified by a play by Cain Lowe midway through the third quarter. Lowe battled Roosevelt’s Jamar Mack for a loose ball before a tie was finally whistled. The arrow gave the ball to the Mustangs, but Lowe hustled downcourt, blocked Mack’s layup and battled for the rebound. Roosevelt got the rebound and a putback anyway, for a 40-24 lead.
The Eagles were down 50-30 with 1:30 left, but Givens hit a free throw and Parker Slate swished two. But Johnson answered with an in-bounds layup.
A Givens three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim, and flirted with the top of the backboard before falling in to make the score 52-36 with eight minutes to play.
Very few bounces went Decatur’s way down the stretch.
The Eagles were outscored 14-7 in the fourth quarter, but not for a lack of effort. Lowe forced several turnovers, blocked another shot and battled for some key rebounds, but Decatur just couldn’t turn them into points.
Mostly, they had no answer for Johnson, who led all scorers with 28 including three three-pointers. His teammates Mack, Warfield and Ladarian Choice all added 10.
Roosevelt was seven-of-13 at the charity stripe.
Mize and Givens had 15 each for Decatur. Mize had three three-pointers and Givens went three for four at the free-throw line. Paul Walker added four, Lowe had three and Shayler Carlton, Slate and Taylor Clayton each scored two points.