Written by SportsDayDFW.com
DeSoto's tight defense steals the show in win over Rowlett
Man-to-man approach holds Rowlett to 13 or fewer each quarter
DeSoto junior guard Matt Jones provided the offensive spark — with a 3-pointer and four-point play — in the second quarter of a 63-46 victory over Rowlett in a Class 5A area-round playoff game at the American Airlines Center. DeSoto needed the 23-point second quarter in a mostly defensive struggle with the much-taller Rowlett. DeSoto held Rowlett to 13 or fewer points in each quarter. DeSoto’s lead hit 20 points late in the fourth quarter.
“We had some guys work really hard against a very tough team,” said DeSoto coach Chris Dyer. “It’s five guys playing together — that’s the only way you can beat a team like that.” A Class of ’13 commit to Duke, the 6-4 Jones had a game-high 21 points to help DeSoto (31-5) steadily pull ahead. Jones scored 13 in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer and a four-point play.
DeSoto outscored Rowlett in each of the final three quarters after a 12-12 first-quarter.
DeSoto advances to play Richardson Berkner (27-7) on Tuesday in the Region II quarterfinals. DeSoto had a 67-64 victory over Berkner in a Houston tournament in November.
Rowlett (22-9) couldn’t score consistently against DeSoto’s typically tight man-to-man defense despite an array of talented scorers, including 6-5 junior swingman Nathan Hawkins, 6-3 junior guard Austin Luke and 6-5 forward Jeffery Carroll, who together have rejuvenated a Rowlett program that won just four games in 2009.
The junior-oriented lineup was able to take a 20-17 lead early in the second quarter after Hawkins and Luke drained some deep 3-pointers. Hawkins ended with 19 points, Luke 11 and Carroll 10, but Rowlett was able to score just 11 points during a 13-minute stretch that DeSoto turned into a 49-33 lead heading in the final quarter.
DeSoto’s 5-9 senior guard Benquan Petty — who hit 9 of 10 free throws — had 20 points, while 6-4 senior Franklyne Okeke had 10 points and nine rebounds.
“Petty and Okeke have really coming on strong the last three weeks,” Dyer said. “They have really stepped it up, and that’s helped a lot. We can only enjoy until our feet get off the bus. Then we’ve got to get ready for Berkner.”