Free throws fuel Sulphur Springs to bi-district win over Jacksonville

Vito High, left, looks for a lane as he is guarded by Sulphur Springs' Boo Wilkerson during first half action in a Class 5A Region II bi-district game on Monday night. Jacksonville lost, 59-51, with High scoring 13 points.

HALLSVILLE — Sometimes the little things turn out to be monumental.

Sulphur Springs knocked off Jacksonville 59-51 in a Class 5A, Region II bi-district game that was played at the Hallsville High School Gymnasium on Monday night.

The District 15-5A runner-up Wildcats hit 10 of 17 (58.8%) from the charity stripe, compared to Jacksonville' sinking just 4 of 11 (36.4%) from the line.

Sulphur Springs led from wire to wire, with Jacksonville's best resulting in the Indians, the third place team out of District 16-5A closing the gap to 16-15 with 6:30 to go in the second quarter, after a basket by Karmelo Clayborne.

Credit the Indians with playing 32 minutes of basketball, however.

After a 13-2 run, the Wildcats built their lead to 17 points, 55-38, with 3:45 left in the contest. To some it probably seemed as though Sulphur Springs had the game in the bag.

The Indians didn't believe that at all, and head coach Mark Alexander's gang proceeded to carve out a 10-1 run, sparked by seven points from Devin McCuin, to get back to with five points, 56-51, with 26 ticks showing on the clock.

McCuin led Jacksonville in scoring by firing in 15 points, which included three shots from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats, who will advance to play the winner of Tuesday evening's Midlothian-Forney game, put a bow on things by draining 3 of 4 free throws in the closing seconds.

Sulphur Springs led 23-19 at halftime and 42-36 going into the final frame.

Vito High and Patrick Clater ended up in double figures for the Indians, scoring 13 and 11 points respectively. Each canned three shots from downtown.

Completing the scoring for Jacksonville was Clayborne with six points, followed by Jermaine Taylor with four and Casey Avery, who added two.

Justin Haire of Sulphur Springs was the game's leading scorer, ending the night with 18 points, with 10 of those points coming in the third stanza.

Boo Wilkerson and LJ Johnson pitched in 11 apiece for the winners.

The Cats hit 45.8% (22 of 48) of their field goal attempts, compared to the Indians, who were making their first playoff appearance in three seasons, connecting on 20 of 54 (31.3%) of their tries.

Playing in their final game as Indians were seniors Lukidrian Williams, Wade Kennedy, Taylor Alexander, Kamron Conwell, Clater and Avery.

NOTE: In the bi-district game played prior to the Indian-Wildcat tilt, undefeated Mount Pleasant eliminated Lufkin from the playoffs by winning, 62-52.



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