Jacksonville secured the fourth and final playoff berth out of District 16-4A Saturday afternoon at Cardinal Gymnasium at Trinity Valley Community College by outlasting Corsicana, 66-62.
The Indians (20-12) will now face No. 2-ranked Lancaster, most likely on Tuesday night at a location to be determined, in a Class 4A, Region 2, bi-district affair.
Lancaster finished in first place in District 15-4A.
After taking a 33-26 halftime lead, thanks in part to a 15-2 first segment run, the Tribe then spent the rest of the afternoon dodging Tiger bullets; quite successfully, too.
Corsicana's last lead came with 3:55 to go in the first quarter, but the Tigers (15-16) did manage to knot things up at 54 with 4:20 to go in the game.
But, Jacksonville scored six-consecutive points to once again plant itself in the drivers seat.
The Tigers got back to within one, 62-61, with 1:11 left, but a Daytron Thompson deuce at the 60-second mark, followed by the kill shot — a baseline floater from about 10 feet out by Charles Kendrick — quickly made it a two-possession game for Corsicana as Jacksonville went up, 66-61, with 31 seconds left.
Defensively, the Tribe gave a good account late as the Tigers were not able to hit a field goal in the final 2:31 of the tilt.
“Things haven't always gone our way this year, and I take full responsibility for that, but the effort has always been there throughout,” Jacksonville head coach, Mark Alexander said. “We got a great effort (Saturday) from the kids and I am really proud of them.”
Jacksonville's reserves did an outstanding job and outscored the Corsicana bench players, 32-18. The Tribe's ability to keep fresh and productive players in the game seem to wear down the Tigers in the final stages as Corsicana had lost 51-50 in overtime to Lindale on Friday night in the loop's first game to determine the third-place team.
Kendrick and Datavion Thacker both came in the game as reserves and led the Tribe in scoring with 16 points each.
Twelve of Kendricks points came in the second half and all were hard earned — blue-collar points.
Raybon Riden finished with eight points, followed by Claude Franklin and Shawn Ragsdale with seven apiece.
Mike Lewis' 16 points was a team-best for the Tigers.
Corsicana outscored Jacksonville 36-33 in the final half, but it was too little, too late.