Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 19, 2014

Jacksonville no match for No. 2 Lancaster

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CORSICANA —

Jacksonville and Lancaster were no strangers to one another, having met in either the first or second round of the state Class 4A playoffs for five of the last six years.

And one thing was for certain, the best Lancaster team that Jacksonville has ever faced was in action Tuesday when the No. 2-ranked Tigers lived up to their hype by ousting the Indians from post season play after dominating Jacksonville, 88-63, in a Class 4A, Region 2, bi-district game that took place at Navarro College's Special Events Center.

The Tigers improved to 28-4 with the win, while the Tribe end the year at 20-13, in head coach mark Alexander's first season at the helm.

Lancaster will move on the face Wylie in Area play later this week.

The Tigers needed just 4:10 to establish a double-digit (16-6) advantage over Jacksonville, with Lancaster owning a 25-14 lead after one period of play.

After the Tigers had increased the margin to 15 points early in quarter two, the Indians got a trey off the hand of Raybon Riden and another triple from Chris Cross, to cut the Tiger lead to 29-20, with 6:10 left in the opening half.

But, on the ensuing Tiger possession the Tigers' 6-foot-10 junior post, Elijah Thomas, connected on an old fashioned three point play that put Lancaster up by double figures, with the Tigers never relinquishing that for the remainder of the tilt.

Jacksonville had much difficulty in stopping Thomas, ESPN's No.6-ranked player in the Class of 2015, and when the final buzzer had sounded, Thomas had amassed 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Thomas, who is being recruited by at least two dozen NCAA Division I schools, including the likes of Kansas, Michigan, Louisville and North Carolina, appeared to be a man among boys against the Indians, as the tallest Tribesmen, Charles Kendrick and Claude Franklin each came in at 6-foot-4.

One of the bright spots for the Tribe was the second half play of senior Mason McCormick.

With Lancaster in front 55-27 early in the third quarter, a hustling McCormick scored on back-to-back possession and then, following aTiger deuce, added a four-pour play when he swished a triple and was fouled in the process.

That offensive spurt by McCormick trimmed the Lancaster lead to 57-34, with 5:20 to play in the third.

Datavion Thacker also played well in the final half, where he scored all of his 11 points, which included a pair of buckets from long range in the fourth quarter.

Thacker led Jacksonville in scoring, with Charles Kendrick netting 10 and McCormick nine.

Riden knocked in eight points and Franklin had seven.

NOTE: Six Indian seniors played in their final game for Jacksonville on Tuesday...That number included, Mason McCormick, Daytron Thompson, Chris Cross, Charles Kendrick, Claude Franklin, and Raybon Riden.