East Ridge wanted to dictate the game tempo against Tyner.
Tyner wouldn’t go along with that plan at all.
The Rams ripped the Pioneers with a 55-point first half and then iced the game with a 16-3 run to start the third quarter Friday night and streaked to an 82-65 District 6-AA high school basketball victory at Tyner Academy.
Tyner’s win was its eighth without a loss in district play and improved the Rams to 15-3 overall. The loss dropped East Ridge to 12-9 and 5-4.
In the girls game, Tyner won 54-25.
“In the first half we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and set the wrong tone for the game by not putting forth the defensive effort we needed,” East Ridge coach Jon Goddard said.
The Rams were on fire.
They built a 24-15 lead with Darron Maston and Sadik Spence setting the early pace. Spence scored 10 of the Rams’ first 19 points and Maston had 12 of the first 24.
Tyner led 35-23 after one quarter.
“They probably hit 11 or 12 of their first shots,” Goddard said. “And we did a bad job of guarding them.”
Tyner coach Gerald Harris could find only one fault with his team’s quick offensive start.
“We were on,” he said, “but we couldn’t get any defensive stops against them.”
The Pioneers, who dropped a 68-57 decision at home to the Rams in early December, trailed by 43-30 with 5:10 left in the first half. They eventually cut the deficit to 50-42 on Keion Jones’ two free throws with 1:31 on the clock.
Tyner responded with a layup by Kevin Cameron, who paced the Rams’ balanced attack with a game-high 19 points and Devante Jones’ 3 from the right win for a 55-42 halftime advantage.
“I told the kids that the first three minutes of the third quarter would be really important,” Harris said. “We had to get after them defensively because they can shoot the ball. If we get them tired, play tough defense and make them take hard shots and rebound we’re good to go.
“I thought we did a good job doing that.”
With the momentum created by five points in 51.8 seconds to close the second quarter, Cameron, a talented freshman who scored 26 in the earlier game against East Ridge, hit a short bank shot and added a layup to start the game-changing run in the third quarter.
After Jones made two free throws the Rams scored 12 straight points – four by Alex Watkins – and Rodney Watson capped it with a fastbreak layup to push the lead to 71-45.
Tyner’s lead was 72-49 when the period ended.
“We felt pretty good at halftime,” Cameron said. “We just needed to play better defense.”
East Ridge, which scored 23 first-quarter points, was held to 23 points in the second half.
“I was still remembering the last time we played them,” Harris said, “because they never gave up. It took us all the way to the third quarter for us to get control tonight.”
The Pioneers picked up the offense in the fourth quarter with Kevin Blair getting two field goals and Jo Jo Tillery, Dominique Millener, Hitchcock and Elijah Garmany all drilling 3-point shots, but Tyner still won by 17 points.
Maston finished with 17 points and Spence and Jones each contributed 13 for the Rams.
“Kevin and Darron both create balance for us,” Harris said. “Kevin is really good anticipating where (the action) is going to be and you can’t teach that. He arrived at Tyner Academy with that. He’s a freshman, but doesn’t play like a freshman.
“And we’ve been trying to get Darron to be more aggressive by taking it to the basket if, for some reason, the 3 isn’t there. In the last couple of games he’s done that.”
Goddard said the Pioneers have done a pretty solid job of maintaining a comfortable game pace this season except against Brainerd, Howard and Tyner.
He’s perplexed with the team’s mindset against those three traditional district title contenders.
“We’ve kept a good pace in recent games, but when we play those three schools we get away from what we should be doing,” he said. “We’ve let them dictate the tempo when we’ve got veteran guards and that should not happen.”
Hitchcock led the Pioneers with 16 points, including four 3s. Jones and Blair each had 10 points.
Tyner’s girls put the clamps on East Ridge early and stormed out to a 26-11 halftime lead. That was enough points to win as the Lady Pioneers managed just eight second-half points.
Marquiesha Conyers scored 17 points and Porchia Turner added 16 for the Lady Rams. Jai Mesia Parks finished with 11 points.
Michaela Moore and Jayla Stone each scored 10 points for East Ridge.
East Ridge 23 19 7 16 – 65
Tyner 35 20 17 10 – 82
East Ridge (65) –King , Tillery 8, Hughes, Millener 3, Talley 6, Eddie Hitchcock 16, Keion Jones 10, Moore, Garmany 3, Kevin Blair 10.
Tyner (82) – Watson 7, Sadik Spence 13, Darron Maston 17, Devante Jones 13, Kevin Cameron 19, Wilson 2, Watkins 6, Hardwick 3, Howard, Strickland 2.
3-Point Goals – East Ridge 10 (Hitchcock 4, King 3, Tillery, Millener, Garmany); Tyner 7 (Jones 3, Maston 2, Spence 2).
East Ridge 2 9 10 4 – 25
Tyner 14 12 14 14 – 54
East Ridge (25) – Stone 6, Kendricks, Murphy, Martin 2, Moon 2, R. Hill 5, Lawrence 4, Michaela Moore 6, M. Hill, High.
Tyner (54) – Bedford 5, Jai Mesia Parks 11, Marquiesha Conyers 17, Wilkes, Christopher, Smith 3, Montgomery 2, Porchia Turner 16.
3-Point Goals – East Ridge 1 (R. Hill); Tyner none.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)