Ryan coach Bryce Overstreet is going to get accused of sandbagging at some point.

His Raiders are now 3-0 in District 6-5A after Friday’s 59-39 win over Colleyville Heritage at Billy Ryan Gym. But earlier in the night, and several times this season, Overstreet has played down his team’s impressive start. And rightfully so to some degree, as Ryan has played up and down at times and sports a 10-6 overall record.

But in district play, Ryan is a different team.

“I’m proud of the way they played tonight,” Overstreet said. “We focus on going 1-0 each and every game, and to this point, to start 3-0, that’s a big deal. We’ve had back-to-back defensive outings. It starts on the defensive end of the floor. We did a great job of closing out. They have several kids that can make shots. But we did a great job of rotating and scrambling when we need to scramble. I just thought we guarded really well.

“To be 3-0 is great. But we have to show up and play and find ways to get better.”

Ryan lost back-to-back nondistrict games during the holidays, including an ugly 55-47 loss in overtime to Arlington. But the Raiders have won their three district games by an average margin of 15.3 points. Friday was the most lopsided of the three, and it came over a Panthers team that was 1-1 in district coming into the night and had just beat Denton 85-47.

Instead of following with another hot-shooting night, Heritage was held to its lowest single game point total of the season.

Zedrick Carter led Heritage with 11 points. Tristan Strength added eight.

Offensively, Ryan is getting production up and down its lineup in critical situations. Marcette Lawson finished with 16 points, and Jordan Ware added 14. Christian Lawson chipped in nine. As a result, the Raiders never trailed. They built a 10-point lead by halftime and extended it to 13 going into the final eight minutes.

“We lost to that team in the first round of district last year, so we came back this year with the mindset of beating them both times,” Marcette Lawson said. “I think it’s just the motivation. We know where our team wants to get to, which is state. To get there, we have to play well. As long as we play well and stay locked in, we have a chance.

“We knew who their shooters were this year, and coach did a great job of calling the right plays.”

Janiah Allen-Taylor scores 23, but Ryan girls lose close one

Janiah Allen-Taylor scored a game-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Ryan Lady Raiders past Colleyville Heritage in a rough 49-43 loss at Billy Ryan Gym.

Ryan (3-2 district) built an 11-1 lead early in the first quarter but watched as the Lady Panthers slowly climbed back in before rattling off a 17-4 run at the end of the first half that bled into the third quarter and gave Heritage a 30-21 lead. Ryan would never regain the lead, even as Allen-Taylor continued to terrorize the Heritage defense with solid play all over the court.

Emi Steele led Heritage with 13 points. Gabi Gipson scored 12 and Aniya Rhoden chipped in eight.

“It’s very frustrating considering we just came off a really good defensive game and thought our defense was going our way,” Ryan coach Monesha Allen said. “We’ll just have to take the weekend off and get ready for the next one. I do feel good about where we’re at. We do have a tough road ahead with Lake Dallas, which is definitely the team to beat in this district. But they put their shoes on the same way we do. So you just have to step out there and play.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 469-360-3611 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

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