LBJ point guard Shasirae Harvey’s grin was a little bit bigger – and a little bit different – after the Jaguars rallied for a 66-62 win over rival Reagan in the District 25-5A opener for both squads Tuesday at Austin’s Delco Center.
Harvey’s alteration to his smile came early in the second half, when his face bounced off the hardcourt during a battle for a loose ball. As Harvey sprinted off the court to assess the damage, one of the referees scooped up a chunk of his front tooth and handed it to an official at the scorer’s table.
“Oh, man, I smacked my face on the ground, and it chipped big,” Harvey said after the game. “But we couldn’t lose this game; I had to come back in.”
Harvey, a senior point guard, and his teammates had more than the usual motivation that comes with winning a district opener. Last season, Reagan (10-3, 0-1 district) handed LBJ (8-4, 1-0) its first district loss in six years while splitting both the season series and the district title, and the Raiders “had been talking all year,” according to Harvey.
Tuesday gave the Jaguars their first chance at redemption.
“We couldn’t go into the holidays like that; we couldn’t have another year like that,” said LBJ coach Freddie Roland. “Now, I was a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. They (Reagan) have a good ballclub; they gave us all we wanted.”
A veteran Reagan squad that includes 11 seniors forged a 33-30 halftime lead behind the play of Tyrese Sanders (13 points) and Printess Harper (11 points). But Harvey steadied a young LBJ lineup that includes three sophomores in the second half. The four-year letter winner at point guard shook off his broken tooth to score a game-high 26 points. He was particularly effective in the second half while scoring 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with an array of driving layups.
“This is probably one of the best games he (Harvey) played in a long time,” Roland said. “He was consistent, took care of the ball and made plays.”
LBJ also received a big boost from sophomores Jordan Teal, David Jones and Antwan McMillan. Teal converted a three-point play after he crossed over a Reagan defender and slipped in a reverse layup to give the Jags a 60-52 lead with just over four minutes left in the game. That bucket not only gave the Jags enough cushion to fend off a late Reagan run, but it also sent the LBJ support into a frenzy.