Jacksonville Daily Progress
The JISD Gymnasium could see its first sell out this evening when teams from rival Whitehouse come to town to take on the Fightin' Maidens and Fightin' Indians in a District 16-4A varsity twin bill.
Much will be on the line for all of the teams as the girls game is scheduled to get under way at 6:15 p.m., followed by the boys around 7:45 p.m.
Jacksonville and Whitehouse will bring identical 2-4 league records into play this evening.
At this juncture, with each squad having four conference games remaining, it appears Whitehouse and Jacksonville are battling for the fourth and final playoff spot out of the circuit.
John Tyler leads the race with a 5-1 record, followed by Lindale and Corsicana at 4-2.
The Ladycats needed triple overtime to get past the Maidens when the two clubs faced off in Whitehouse on Jan. 3.
Whitehouse outscored Jacksonville 15-3 in the third bonus round to log the 56-44 victory.
It's probably safe to say that Fightin' Maiden head coach Tony Harris will be looking for his team to start off strong this time around.
While not ready to reveal his game strategy in advance he did have this to say on the subject: “I know those three overtimes really took a lot out of our team and if we could avoid that this time it would sure be nice.”
Jacksonville was without its leading scorer and team spark plug, Jasmine Parson, when the Maidens and Ladycats met the first time, so look for Jacksonville to get a significant boost by having Parson in the starting lineup tonight.
At least a couple of interesting sub-plots surround this game.
For starters, former Jacksonville head boys basketball coach Brent Kelley comes to town for the first time as the Wildcat mentor. Kelley took over the Whitehouse program last July after leading Jacksonville to a 33-2 record last season.
Kelley has the Wildcats playing good basketball now, as the Maroons will bring an 18-6 overall record, 3-1in District 16-4A into this evening's affair.
Whitehouse's only league loss came to Corsicana (62-58) back on Jan. 10.
The Wildcats polished off John Tyler, 68-60, on Jan. 14 in Whitehouse.
Whitehouse, Jacksonville and John Tyler will all come into tonight's games with 3-1 district records.
John Tyler is scheduled to trek to Lindale this evening.
The Tribe were tripped up in Tyler Tuesday night, losing to John Tyler, 61-53, in a game that had the Lions at the free throw line 31 times — 16 in the fourth quarter alone.
Meanwhile, Whitehouse clobbered Nacogdoches, 80-59, in the Wildcats' latest outing on Tuesday.
Indian head coach Mark Alexander has been trotting out a starting line-up consisting of Mason McCormick, Daytron Thompson, Shawn Ragsdale, Charles Kendrick and Raybon Riden.
Jacksonville generally gets a huge boost from Datavion Thacker and Claude Franklin coming in off of the bench as the duo have proven to be able to score a bevy of points in a short period of time on multiple occasions this season.
Key players for the Wildcats include Patrick Mahomes, Spencer Shaw and Jake Parker.