New challenger for DeSoto, Mesquite Horn in 11-5A girls basketball

The District 11-5A girls basketball race should be an interesting one to watch with last year's co-champions, Mesquite Horn and DeSoto threatened by a revitalized Tyler Lee program.

All three teams were winners Tuesday, on the opening night of district play.

Horn (20-3, 1-0), No. 12 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches state rankings, thumped Mesquite, 70-37, on Tuesday. Horn hosts North Mesquite at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

DeSoto (19-5, 1-0), ranked No. 20 in the state, defeated Tyler John Tyler, 63-53 on opening night. DeSoto travels to Tyler Lee on Friday.

Lee (19-5, 1-0), which won only one district game last season, breezed past North Mesquite, 73-36, on Tuesday.

Horn coach Christina Bradford has an excellent inside-outside combination in 5-8 junior guard Breanna Hall and 6-0 senior forward Kelsi Baker. Horn went 4-1 in the Sandra Meadows Classic last week, edging Frisco in the third-place game, 54-52, on two Hall free throws in the closing seconds.

During a timeout before Hall shot the free throws, Bradford played a mind game, expressing doubt in the huddle that Hall was the team's best free throw shooter. The coach said later, she learned the way to get results from the 5-6 junior guard is to tell her she can't do something.

DeSoto used quickness and depth to go 4-1 in the Meadows tournament, winning the Silver bracket championship with an 81-28 rout of Frisco Liberty. DeSoto had a run of 36 points in the first half of that game.

Kelli Willingham, a 5-6 senior guard, is averaging 16.4 points per game over DeSoto's last eight games.

Tyler Lee is the wild card in 11-5A. Under first-year coach Anthony DeCello, Lee has made a big-turnaround. Sophomore post Stacey Malone opened district with a double-double in points and rebounds against North Mesquite.