After four straight losses, the Ryan Raiders desperately needed to win their final two games to clinch a playoff spot out of District 8-5A. They did exactly that, and in dominating fashion no less.
Twelve players scored Friday, including three who reached double figures, as the Raiders led from the opening tip to the final buzzer in an 83-41 win over crosstown rival Denton at Billy Ryan Gym. The lopsided win comes just three days after Ryan (16-10, 7-5 district) beat Lake Dallas by 23. Friday’s 83 points was the most points Ryan scored in a game all year.
Ryan has clinched a playoff spot but could move as high as second place depending on how other games play out.
“I was extremely pleased with our focus and effort from the very beginning,” Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet said. His program celebrated the 20th anniversary of its 2000 Class 4A state championship team at halftime. “You get to the end of the year in the position that we were in, and you never know how kids will respond. Yesterday, we were a little loose. But the effort was there, and I think the looseness ended up being good for us.”
Ryan was led by Treshaun Shivers’ 17 points. Billy Bowman was close behind with 14, and Marcette Lawson added 10.
Denton (2-9 district) got 16 points from Khoree Mitchell and 10 from Cameron Stevenson. Austin Jackson also turned in a solid performance with nine points, but despite that trio’s best efforts, the Broncos trailed by 16 early in the second quarter and watched as the game got out of control as Ryan used a 21-4 run to close out the half.
Even as Ryan turned to its bench, there was little Denton could do to stop the bleeding.
“I thought we battled hard,” Denton coach Harold Jackson said. “Ryan has a tremendous team and sometimes it can feel like climbing a mountain. But our guys battled as hard as they could.”
Ryan is back in the playoffs after a down year last season. While it’s too early to determine who the Raiders will play in the first round, Overstreet said he likes his team’s chances moving forward.
“I’ve said since the beginning of the year that I’ve never had a team with this amount of depth,” he said. “It comes down to us utilizing that appropriately. There’s going to be nights where one kid will be playing better than another, and the normal rotation gets bumped off a little bit. But to have the ability to draw from a full bench each and every night with complete confidence makes a world of difference.
“We’ve really made some progress this last week and gained some momentum. You go to the locker room, and these kids are ready. I’m extremely fortunate to be their coach.”