MANSFIELD -- During every stoppage of play in the fourth quarter Tuesday night, Cedar Hill coach Tim Thomas pleaded with his team to finish strong.
The Longhorns probably made it more interesting than Thomas would have liked, but pulled out a 45-39 victory against Mansfield.
Senior forward Jalen Jones led Cedar Hill with 19 points.
"We were just maintaining our composure down the stretch," Jones said. "We just made sure to play hard defense and secure the rebound."
Cedar Hill sophomore guard Darris Harper hit a 3-pointer with 5:15 remaining that gave the Longhorns (13-6, 4-2 in District 7-5A) their largest lead of the game at 38-27.
Mansfield (11-10, 1-5) tried to rally, rattling off a 10-3 run to cut the lead to 41-37 with 40 seconds left after junior forward Micah Littlejohn hit two free throws.
But Cedar Hill wouldn't let Mansfield get closer, hitting four consecutive free throws to seal the win.
Neither team could generate much offense in the first quarter. Mansfield opened the game with a 3-pointer on its first possession from Littlejohn but didn't score again until 24 seconds left in the quarter.
After the teams were tied at 7-7 starting the second quarter, Cedar Hill found its rhythm by knocking down some jumpers and getting some close shots against Mansfield's zone defense to lead 22-18 at halftime.
The Longhorns' defense amped up the pressure in the third quarter, making it a challenge for the Tigers to advance past half court.
"When we put pressure on them, they turned the ball over and that just made it easier for us to score," Jones said.
Littlejohn led Mansfield with 15 points.
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