Although No. 21 Jacksonville convincingly (92-65) defeated visiting Athens on Tuesday night at the JHS Gymnasium, Tribe head coach Brent Kelley was not at all satisfied with the way his club went about its business, especially in the early going.
The underdog Hornets (8-7) fired on all cylinders from the onset and led for the first 10 minutes of the game, aside from when the Indians tied the game at three early on.
Athens' biggest advantage came with 2:32 to go in the opening stanza when the Hornets owned a 16-9 lead over the Tribesmen (13-0).
“We were not ready to play, plain and simple,” Kelley said. “That's on me.
“We've talked about this...we can't expect to just walk out onto the floor and beat people, it doesn't work that way. I think you have to give Athens a lot of credit. They came out running and ready to play and they got after us.”
Jacksonville used a 9-0 run over a 2:35 span in the second period to move ahead 36-28.
This proved to be just enough foundation for Jacksonville to build what turned out to be its baker's dozen win on.
The Tribe took a 48-38 lead into the locker room at intermission before outscoring Athens 23-10 in the third quarter which officially launched the blowout.
“Once we quit turning the ball over we were ok,” Kelley said. “I think that our press hurt them.”
One of the hidden advantages to the outcome being decided early on was the fact that Kelley was able to go deep into his bench, giving the reserve squadmen plenty of minutes.
In fact, 11 of the 13 Indians that dressed out scored at least two points In the one-sided win.
“Everybody is happy when everybody plays and we did what we had to do in the second and third quarters to get the lead and then we handed it over to the reserves and they were able to hold the lead and finish the game off in the right way, which is a credit to them.”
The Tribe bench scored 37 of the club's total points.
Daytron Thompson paced the Tribe with 18 points, followed by Claude Franklin with 14 and Dadrian Franklin who put in 13.
Raybon Riden hit for a dozen points, with 10 of those coming in the opening half.
Kevin Lybrand added eight points, including a pair of corner treys on back-to-back Indian possessions in the third quarter.
Chris Cross and Ozzian Clayborne netted six points apiece.
Completing the scoring parade for Jacksonville were Kedarrius Buckingham and Londedric Taylor who tossed in four each, Mason McCormick, who came away with three and Ladarrius Session who pitched in two.
The Hornet loss spoiled an outstanding individual performance by Athens' Anthony Sanders who went off for a game-best 33 points.
Sanders completed his double-double by snatching down 12 rebounds as well.
The Tribe are slated to play two games today in the Tatum Eagles Holiday Hoops Showcase.
At 1 p.m. the Tribe take on Pleasant Grove and at 5:30 Jacksonville will tangle with Carthage.
Pool play wraps up at noon Friday when the Indians face Pine Tree.
At the conclusion of pool play, the teams will be slotted into their respective brackets based on the results of the pool games.
The title game is slated for Saturday evening at Eagle Coliseum.