Then, in seemingly the blink of an eye, the Wildcats had a double-digit lead as they used a furious first-half run to bury the Panthers and claim a 76-51 win at Archie E. McAfee Gymnasium.
The win secured the outright District 6-6A title for Guyer and gave the Wildcats their third outright title in coach Grant Long’s five seasons leading the program. In his tenure, Guyer also has one district co-championship.
“That’s what we strive for,” Long said. “This group didn’t want to share a title with anyone. We strive for tradition and we want that expectation. Now the expectation is a deep playoff run. That’s what great programs do, and that’s what we want to be.”
The 16th-ranked Wildcats (25-5, 12-2) will open the postseason next week against Euless Trinity after the Trojans tied for third place in 5-6A with Lewisville but lost both head-to-head meetings with the Farmers this year. Trinity defeated Guyer 87-77 in December.
On Friday, after Guyer claimed its first lead with 30 seconds to play in the first quarter after trailing 14-7 midway through the frame, the Wildcats’ athleticism and suffocating defense took Plano East out of the game as Guyer completed a 23-2 run and took a 14-point lead midway through the second quarter.
“We just kept playing and kept playing defense,” sophomore point guard De’Vion Harmon said. “We were down seven points. That’s just a few possessions. We know if we lock up on defense and don’t turn the ball over, we’ll be fine. We got to the line and knocked down free throws and were hitting open guys. Everything started going our way.”
Harmon led the Wildcats with 15 points and also added eight assists and seven steals. Fellow sophomore Jalen Wilson scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds. Junior post Grayson Carter chipped in 12 points, while senior Jake Roberts added 11.
Guyer scored 28 points in the third quarter to put the game away, and Long said he knew his team was hitting on all cylinders.
“I don’t know if I’d say I found myself just watching, but definitely admiring their ability to turn it on like that,” he said. “When we’re motivated to share the ball and push it, that’s fun to watch.”
Now, Guyer will focus on its playoff run as the top seed from District 6-6A with hopes of making it beyond the second round, which has been the Wildcats’ stumbling block in its relatively young playoff history.
“They’re ready to roll,” Long said. “I have no doubts for the playoffs that we’ll be ready to roll. This was a good game heading into it.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Guyer 76, Plano East 51
Guyer (25-5, 12-2) — Le’Tre Darthard 9, Jalen Wilson 14, De’Vion Harmon 15, Jake Roberts 11, JaKobe Coles 7, Grayson Carter 12, Cody Price 4, Mason Nitardy 3, Luke Helgesen 1.
Plano East (13-18, 5-9) — Kameron Hogan 16, Jackson Davis 2, Terrance Propes 14, Jacob Garvin 2, Thuyler Hardy 2, Miklo Smalls 7, Mikail Simmons 7, Jakob Austin 1.
Published: 14 February 2017 11:42 PM