Jacksonville used a big third quarter that saw the Indians outscore visiting Carthage, 17-13, to spur what eventually was a 46-43 victory for the Indians on Tuesday night in Jacksonville.
The Bulldogs, who came in with wins over Class 5-A teams (Texas High and Nacogdoches), put the Indians (8-4) to the test.
Jacksonville was able to extend its precarious 24-20 halftime lead to eight points, 41-33, following a solid third stanza that featured the Tribe successfully putting full-court pressure on the Bulldogs.
Carthage opened the final frame by going on a 6-0 run to slice the Jacksonville advantage to 41-39 with 4:42 left to play, after a bucket by the Bulldogs' Montrel Hatten, Jr.
Patrick Clater made good on the second of two attempts from the charity stripe to put the Indians ahead by three with 4:16 left.
Clater then popped a mid-range jumper — which turned out to be the game-winning shot — with 2:22 showing on the clock to give the home team a bit more breathing room.
That's where things stood until Karmelo Clayborne dropped in a deuce on a driving layup from the right side that came at the 1:47 mark.
Jacksonville led 46-39 following Clayborne basket.
Fifteen second later Hatten Jr. added a free throw for the Dawgs. The scored remained 46-40 until Hatten dropped in a triple from the left wing with :39 left in regulation that made it a one-possession game.
Clater was able to muscle out some key rebounds in the closing seconds that proved to be one of the keys in the Indians' victory.
Clayborne and Vito High finished with 11 points each for Jacksonville, while Clater added eight and Devin McCuin scored seven.
The game's leading scorers were Nick Stewart and Hatten Jr., who poured in 13 points apiece for the Bulldogs.
Carthage used a 12-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-6 lead going into the second quarter, but the Indians countered with a 12-0 run of their own in the second frame.
Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line, with Jacksonville hitting at a 40% clip (4-10) and the Bulldogs canning 4-8 (50%) from the line.
The Indians will close out non-district play by traveling to Central Heights on Friday night. The varsity game will start at 5 p.m. and be played at the main gym. The freshmen and junior varsity games will be played at the auxlliary gym at 6:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
Jacksonville will launch conference play at 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 12 when the Tyler High Lions are scheduled to invade John Alexander Gymnasium.
Junior Varsity: Jacksonville 35, Carthage 30