Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

November 1, 2013

Fight'n Indian basketball preparing to begin new chapter

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress


Jacksonville Fight'n Indian basketball fans will have to get used to several new things this season.

For starters, the Tribe will be playing in a new arena — the JISD Gymnasium (formally the LMC-Smith Events Center) — is now the team's new home.

The building's seating capacity is nearly three times the number that the JHS Gymnasium could accommodate, so more Indian fans than ever will be able to comfortably see their team play.

Jacksonville also has a new head coach this season.

Mark Alexander, the son of John Alexander, the most successful basketball coach in the history of the school, was selected to replace Brent Kelley, who is now the head coach at Whitehouse, as the Indian mentor in the off season.

Alexander has been putting his stamp on the team since practices opened on Oct. 23, with several players having not arrived yet due to their football commitment, as is usually the case.

Early indications seem to point towards the Indians being more of a running team under Alexander; although shaping the team is still very much a work in progress.

Fans will also have to adjust to the loss of six seniors off of last year's club; most of whom had played together on varsity for four years.

The cupboard is not entirely empty for Alexander, however.

Among this year's crop of seniors are returnees, Raybon Riden (6'1”, guard), Charles Kendrick (6'3', forward), Daytron Thompson (5' 11”, guard) and Mason McCormick, a 6'1” guard.

On promotee from the sub-varsity ranks that could be a major contributor this year is the lightning-quick Datavian Thacker.

Jacksonville is scheduled to open the regular season on Nov. 22 when Brownsboro's Bears come to town.

The only other home game prior to the beginning of the new year will take place on Dec. 17 when the Indians entertain Marshall.

District 16-4A play will commence on Jan. 10, 2014, with Jacksonville visiting Lindale that evening.

Four days later the Tribe will host Corsicana in what will be the first district game played at the JISD Gymnasium.

The Indians have been booked into three tournaments this season.

On Dec. 5-7 the Tribe will play in the Madionsville Tournament.

The following weekend Jacksonville will take part in a tournament that will be hosted by Fairfield High School, and on Dec. 19-21 the Indians will be competing in the Tatum Holiday Hoops Fest.