By Jay Neal

Jacksonville rookie-head coach Brent Kelley said prior to the start of Friday’s game against Longview that he was worried because the game was his team’s first with only a few abbreviated practice sessions under the Indians’ belt due to the state playoffs in football.

Kelley also was nervous because Longview entered the game having played in a game — a 67-60 win over Nacogdoches Tuesday — already.

Turns out Kelley didn’t have anything to fret about after all as the Fightin’ Indian hoopsters presented the 26-year-old Garrison native a victory in his first game as a varsity head coach by beating Longview 71-54 at the JHS Gymnasium.

After a first quarter that was played on even terms for the most part ,Jacksonville held a 16-12 lead after the first eight minutes.

But a 7-0 spurt to open the second stanza gave the Indians the needed separation and Longview never seriously threatened from that point on.

Jacksonville outscored the Lobos (1-1), who were missing several players due to the state football playoffs, 23-13 in the second period to take a comfortable 39-25 advantage into the dressing room.

Ryan Black pumped in 13 points in the first half, in route to a game-high 21-point evening to lead the Indians.

A Duke Hamilton trey off the left wing that came near the midpoint of the third put the Tribe in front by 18 points, 50-32, with the Indians maintaining that margin through the duration of the period — the Tribe led 54-36 with one period remaining.

Eight out of the 11 Indians to dress out scored at least two points with Justin Davis (15) and Hamilton (10) being the additional double-digit men, along with Black.

Devonte Hinton and Traderreon Moreland added eight points a piece for the Tribe as well.

Top scorers for the Lobos were Damien Lawson with 25 and Luke Mack who tossed in 18.

“A win is a win, but there are a lot of things we have to clean up,” Kelley said following the game. “For the kids to have had just four practices, I thought they came down the floor well. We just have a few things we will have to fix next week.

“Longview is a good team that is picked to win their district and I know they were missing a few players because of football, but they are (still) a good team.”

The Tribe have one more game prior to dismissing for Thanksgiving. That will come at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Indians host Crockett.

Note: Kelley said 56 boys tried out for the Indian freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams this week, with 37 selected to fill the respective rosters which is a significant increase in the overall numbers from a year ago.

Jacksonville 71, Longview 54

LHS 12 13 11 19 54

JHS 16 23 15 17 71

LHS — Damien Lawson, 20; DeAndre Benton, 5; Luke Mack, 18; Mason Simmons, 4; Green Carroll, 6; R. Wells, 1.

JHS — Traderreon Moreland, 8; Duke Hamilton, 10; Ryan Black, 21; Jacolby Scott, 4; Brandon Orr, 3; Justin Davis, 15; LaVante Franklin, 2; Devonte Hinton, 8.

Three-point goals

LHS — Lawson (2), Mack (4)

JHS — Hamilton (2); Orr


LHS 1-1

JHS 1-0

Next Game

Jacksonville vs. Crockett

7:30 p.m.


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