At least a share of first place in the District 11-5A boys basketball standings will be at stake when Mesquite hosts DeSoto at 7:30 tonight.
It's a rematch of last year's Class 5A Region II championship game, when DeSoto hit some late free throws for a 47-42 victory. DeSoto went on to capture the 5A state title a week later.
Mesquite coach Brian Curts won't have to remind four returning players from last year's team that a little payback is in order.
"It is a great game for the kids and the schools,'' Curts said. "It is like a playoff game before the playoffs start.''
DeSoto (23-3, 1-0 in 11-5A) is No. 10 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches' 5A state rankings.
Mesquite (14-6, 1-0) is unranked.
Based on the pattern of last season's games, the man-to-man defense favored by both Curts and DeSoto coach Chris Dyer should produce a low-scoring game.
Between the two teams, DeSoto's Antwan Space is the only player scoring in double figures (11.1 ppg).
"Our plan always is to try to take away the strength of our opponent and expose the weaknesses,'' Curts said. "It is harder to do against a team with balanced scoring.''
Derrick Jefferson, a 6-2 senior guard, is Mesquite's leading scorer (9.8) followed by 6-0 junior guard Emmanuel Watson (8.2).
The home court meant nothing in last season's two 11-5A meetings. Mesquite won at DeSoto, 50-49 in the first encounter. DeSoto reciprocated, 56-46, at Mesquite.