There was plenty for the fans of the Red and Black to celebrate at Rusk High School's Eagle Coliseum on Friday evening.
In addition to it being Senior Night, for both the girls and boys basketball squads, the large gathering of Eagle faithful were able to bask in the glory of the Eagles earning the right to return to the state Class 3A playoffs for the first time since 2009 after the Rusk boys bombed Groesbeck, 51-37, to clinch one of District 19-3A's four playoff spots.
After a defensive-oriented first half in which the Eagles carried a 19-16 edge into the break, head coach Zach Allison's charges, who posted a wire-to-wire triumph, sealed the deal with an offensive explosion of sorts in the third quarter.
During that segment the Eagles outscored the Goats, who have won just three games this year and are in last place in the District 19-3A rankings, 21-8, to blow things wide open.
Rusk (12-16, 2-3 19-3A) led by as many as 17 points in the final quarter before the Goats closed things out on a mini run to shrink the Eagles' margin of victory a tad.
Jadarian Skinner pumped in a team-high 13 points, followed by Chase Stanley and Ray Foreman who each netted 12.
Isaiah Francis chipped in seven points, with PJ Tilley adding three.
The Rusk defense held each of the Goats to single digits.
The win was Rusk's second of the season over Groesbeck.
The Eagles will take their show on the road Tuesday by visiting Mexia at 7:30 p.m.
VARSITY GIRLS: Groesbeck 46, Rusk 30 — Within striking distance at the end of the third period when they trailed by nine points, the Lady Eagles saw their chances at securing their first District 19-3A win of the season evaporate in the final stanza when Groesbeck outscored Rusk, 15-8, in route to posting a 46-30 victory.
The Lady Eagles were led in scoring by Kelsey Blankinship and Chelsie Daniels, who contributed 10 and nine points, respectively.
Destinee Morris put in six and Jacquelyn Dyess knocked in three.
The Lady Eagles will visit Mexia at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday for another conference test.