Kedarrius Buckingham keyed a 6-0 Jacksonville run with just over a minute to go in the game that enabled the Fight'n Indians to remain undefeated (27-0) and come away with a 50-49 District 16-4A win over John Tyler.
The long anticipated and hotly contested affair was played before a sell out crowd at the JHS Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The No. 12-ranked Indians now stand alone at the top of the league standings with a conference record of 4-0, and are a game ahead of Whitehouse and two games in front of John Tyler (8-14, 2-2).
Among the many subplots was the fact that Jacksonville head coach Brent Kelley earned his 100th-career victory in just his fourth year as a head coach on Tuesday.
The Tribe win was the first time that Jacksonville has beaten the Lions during the regular season in the Kelley era.
Jacksonville got behind by as many as 13 points, 33-20, in the early stages of the third quarter, but the Tribe never surrendered.
“We came back from being down by 13, they (John Tyler) went up again and we bounced back and we seemed to have something left for everything they came at us with in the second half,” Kelley said. “I am really proud of these kids. They just refused to lose (Tuesday) and they got the stops late that we needed and made the plays on offense when needed against a very good John Tyler team.”
The Tribe closed substantial ground in the third, with the Lions owning a 37-34 lead at the start of the final segment.
Still trailing by five, Jacksonville made its final push beginning with 2:14 to go in the tilt when Buckingham muscled a shot in from down low that sliced the John Tyler lead to 47-44.
Daytron Thompson then came up with a steal on John Tyler's subsequent trip down the floor and promptly fired the ball to Raybon Riden who cashed in with an easy breakaway layup that reduced the Lion margin to one point with 1:51 to go.