PORT ARTHUR —
With their backs against the wall and the clock ticking down on the regular season, the Jacksonville College men's basketball team went into hostile waters Wednesday evening and pulled out, arguably, their biggest victory of the year, a 56-53, upset over Lamar State-Port Arthur's Seahawks.
The victory keeps JC's hopes for a post-season conference tournament berth alive.
The Jags improved to 10-19, 4-14 in Region XIV, with the win, while the Seahawks fell to 23-6, 13-6.
JC trailed by two at the break, but came back to outscore Lamar St., 28-23, in the final half.
“Lamar St. is probably the best second half team in our conference, so for us to be able to beat them in the second half at their place, says a lot about the determination and effort from our boys,” JC head mens basketball coach, Jody Bailey, said.
Bailey said that, in a nut shell, the win was the results of the Jags being able to do one of the little things correctly that prevented the Seahawks from living on the free throw line, which is what happened when the teams met earlier this season in Jacksonville.
“We were able to shuffle and move our feet this time,” Bailey explained. “When we played them (Lamar St.) up here we didn't do that and we got our hands all over them and were called for the fouls.
“Went sent them to the free throw line 47 times the first time that we played them and (Wednesday) they shot only 20 free throws.”
Chris Campbell led JC with 20 points to compliment his six rebounds while Deng Leek netted five points, eight boards and three blocked shots.
JC, Panola and Bossier Parish (La.) all own identical 4-14 conference records heading into their respective regular season finales on Saturday.
The Jags entertain San Jacinto (23-6, 14-4) at 4 p.m. while Panola travels to Bossier for a game at the same time.
All the Jags will need to do is win on Saturday, regardless of the outcome of the Panola-Bossier game, and they will be heading to Tyler on Tuesday afternoon for a first round game in the Region XIV Championship Tournament.
A Purple and White loss would mean Bossier would have to beat Panola for JC to make the dance — a JC loss and a Pony victory would give Panola the final tournament spot.
“We control our own destiny and that's what we wanted,” Bailey said. “I feel good about things overall because I've seen just how much this team has improved over the duration of the season and they are hungary and they are on a mission.”
The JC men will take a three-game overall winning streak into play Saturday, with two of those decisions having come in league play.
NOTE: The Jacksonville College women dropped a 93-77 decision to Tyler Junior College Wednesday night in Tyler. Despite the setback, the Lady Jags remained in fifth place in the loop pecking order and will host San Jacinto at 2 p.m. Saturday in the last regular season game of the season...The JC women have clinched a post season tournament position and will play their first Region XIV Championship Tournament (UT Tyler) contest this coming Wednesday.