Despite already having a playoff spot already tucked away, the No. 10-ranked (Class 4A) Tribesmen still have much to play for tonight when they entertain Corsicana's Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. at the JHS Gymnasium.
The Indians are 29-0, 6-0 in District 16-4A, and with three of the team's last four games slated to be played in Jacksonville, Tribe mentor Brent Kelley dissected the schedule down like this.
“If we can win our three remaining home games, we will be district champions and that was one of our goals coming into this season,” he said.
Jacksonville hosts Nacogdoches on Tuesday before testing John Tyler at the Lion's Den on Feb. 8.
The regular season then draws to a close on Feb. 12 when Whitehouse makes a trek to Tomato Town.
Corsicana (21-7, 3-3) could give the Indians a real test tonight.
The Bulldogs played well on Tuesday when they lost, 79-74, to Whitehouse in a game that was played in Corsicana.
The Bulldogs, who have a lock on the fourth, and final, playoff spot out of the district, led 72-70 with 2:02 to go in the game, before things turned south for Corsicana.
Mike Lewis tossed in 20 points to lead the Bulldogs offensively on Tuesday.
The first time the two teams hooked up — on Jan. 15 at Tiger Gym — it was all Tribe, as Jacksonville departed having earned a 50-27 win.
Having already sewed up a post-season berth, the Indians are starting to ramp up their efforts on the offensive end during practice time, according to Kelley.
“Since I have been here we've taken pride in our defense and our press — it's what we hang our hats on,”Kelley said. “We've continued to do what we do, year after year.
“Now, in practice we are spending more time on offense with the playoffs nearing, but as long as we can keep holding teams to 30, 35 points, or whatever, we don't have to score a whole lot of points to be able to win. There are teams in our district that are putting up 60 or 70 points a game, but they are giving up almost that many as well.”
So, if it isn't broke, why try to fix it.
Kelley said that while the Tribe are developing a few new wrinkles on offense, don't expect the team to stray too far from the blueprint that has enabled them to go 29-0 so far in 2012-13.
“Offensively, we have to keep things fresh,” he said. “Future potential playoff opponents have already started to scout us, and we have been scouting the contenders from some of the districts that we might be facing in the playoffs also. As you go into the playoffs you want to have a few tricks up your sleeve, but at the end of the day we are going to stay true to being a defense first team. We're not going to change our philosophy.”
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