Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville ran its record to 23-0 as the Fight'n Indians wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule on Tuesday night at the JHS Gymnasium by escaping with a 63-56 decision over a pesky and opportunistic bunch of Hallsville Bobcats.
The Bobcats (8-13) nearly pulled off the upset over Class 4-A's No. 12-rated outfit, as Hallsville came to play and darn near made the Tribesman pay for a lackluster performance, which put Jacksonville head coach Brent Kelley in less than a celebratory mood following the game.
“Our main goal was not to be undefeated headed into district, it was to be playing our best basketball, and we are not and that concerns me,” Kelley said.
Kelley said that he was satisfied with his gang's effort, but execution was far from pleasing.
“We have to be able to finish at the rim and we can't turn the ball over like we did (Tuesday). I bet we had 25 turnovers,” he said. “When you don't finish at the rim and you give the ball up 25 times a lot of teams will be able to play with you and that's what we saw (Tuesday).
“Too many missed opportunities...we have a lot of things to get cleaned up before Friday.”
The Tribe led 49-35 after three quarters of action and appeared to be on their way to another blowout victory.
But the fourth quarter was another story as the Indians hit just 15.3-percent (2-of-13) from the field while committing five of their 24 turnovers in the final eight minutes of play also.
Jacksonville's saving grace in the final stanza was its ability to can free throws.
The Tribe went 10-of-11 from the line in the final eight minutes of play, which is the only thing that kept them from falling to defeat.
Conversely, Hallsville went 7-of-20 (35-percent) from the field in the last period and outscored Jacksonville 11-6 over the final two minutes of play to erase what was for much of the second half a double-digit Indian lead.
Dadrian franklin led the Indians by pumping in 15 points while Ozzian Clayborne flicked in nine.
Raybon Riden and Charles Kendrick tossed in eight each.
Daytron Thompson And Kedarius Buckingham led Jacksonville in rebounding, snatching down nine and eight boards, respective as the Indians won the battle of the boards, 39-28, over the Bobcats.
Hallsville was led offensively by Cody Blankenship who knocked down a game-high 23 points.
Blankenship went 3-of-8 from beyond the arc and 8-of10 from the free thrown line.
Nolan Faires added 20 points for the Bobcats.
The Tribe continue the home stand by entertaining Lindale, who defeated Athens 59-55 on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The affair will serve as the District 16-4A opener for both squads.
NOTE: Jacksonville made it a clean sweep by hammering Hallsville 66-20 in the freshman game...Datarian Thacker scored 16 points for the Tribe in that game...The Tribe JV buried the Bobcat JV, 55-20, as S. Ragsdale dropped in 23 points.