JACKSONVILLE -- For a moment, it seemed as if the John Tyler Lions were going to stroll into Jacksonville and wreck the Indians' perfect season.

Jacksonville's fortunate basketball games aren't measured in moments but minutes. The No. 12 Indians had an answer for every punch two-time defending district champion John Tyler delivered and came away with a hard-fought 50-49 victory Tuesday night.

The Indians, which improved to 27-0 and 4-0 in District 16-4A, trailed by 13 points early in the second half and by five late in the fourth quarter before regrouping to preserve their undefeated record and open up a two-game lead on John Tyler (8-14, 2-2), which dropped its second straight.

Jacksonville's Kedarrius Buckingham looks for an open teammate around the defense of John Tyler's Tyus Bowser on Tuesday. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

"They went up 13, we bounced back; they hit us in the mouth again, we bounced back," Jacksonville coach Brent Kelley said. "We finally got stops and we finished off the possession by rebounding on the defensive end. We spread the floor on offense and got some mismatches, created gaps for us to penetrate."

Raybon Riden and Daytron Thompson led Jacksonville with 14 points apiece, while senior post Kedarrius Buckingham contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"It puts us two games up on (John Tyler) in the standings with six to play," Kelley said. "They've got a great team, (Coach Cedeno Clark) does a great job with them and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Any time you beat JT it's a great win for our program."

Fred Ross led John Tyler with 11 points and added six rebounds. Tyus Bowser chipped in with 10 points and 15 boards, while Greg Ward and Isaac Warren each had 10 points as well.

A jumper by Riden cut John Tyler's lead to 37-36 with 6:38 showing on the fourth-quarter clcok. Then Bowser scored at the other end for a three-point lead and, after two missed free throws on the other end, Bowser put the Lions up 42-36 with a three-point play after an offensive rebound.

Another three-point play, this time from Ward, gave John Tyler a 47-42 lead with 2:33 remaining.

John Tyler's Greg Ward puts one up over the defense of Jacksonville's Kedarrius Buckingham. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

That's when Jacksonville turned up the heat, scoring six consecutive points. Buckingham's putback gave the Indians a 48-47 lead with 1:15 to go. It was one of three big buckets for the 6-4 post down the stretch.

"We were running pick-and-roll and getting some switches with some smaller guys on him," Kelley said. "He did a good job finishing under the bucket and did a good job on the back end of our press, drawing charges."

On the next possession, Bowser was called for an offensive foul and Londedric Taylor hit a pair of free throws at the other end to put Jacksonville up 50-47 with 30 seconds left.

Ross answered with a basket to cut the deficit to one and, after Jacksonville missed the front-end of a one-and-one, John Tyler had the ball with 12 seconds to go.

The ball was inbounded to Tavian Teal, who fed it to Keaunte Humber, whose desperation shot was well short and ended up in the hands of Buckingham.

"We knew we had to stop Bowser, he's their key," Kelley said. "A lot of their sets and isolations run through him, so we tried to make him give the ball up. And they're so good even when he misses, so athletic, so talented ... that's only half the battle, you've got block out."

John Tyler plays host to Lindale on Friday, while Jacksonville travels to Whitehouse, which is just one game behind the Indians.

Lady Lions Score Key Win Over Jacksonville

Quaneshia Johnson scored 24 points to lead the John Tyler Lady Lions past Jacksonville, 50-45, Monday night.

Tiaka Lee added 12 points for John Tyler (18-11, 3-3).

Jacksonville (15-14, 2-4) was led by Chancii Scott's 12 points.

Jacksonville's Dadrian Franklin brings the ball downcourt during the Indians' 50-49 win over John Tyler on Tuesday in Jacksonville. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)


District 16-4A Boys
No. 12 Jacksonville 50, John Tyler 49

John Tyler                15   10   12   12   --   49
Jacksonville             12    8    12   18   --   50
JOHN TYLER--Fred Ross, 11; Tyus Bowser, 10; Greg Ward, 10; Isaac Warren, 10; Tavian Teal, 4; Darion Flowers, 2; Keaunte Humber, 2.
JACKSONVILLE--Raybon Riden, 14; Daytron Thompson, 14; Kedarrius Buckingham, 12; Dadrian Franklin, 4; Kevin Lybrand, 4; Londedric Taylor, 2.
RECORDS--John Tyler 8-14 (2-2); Jacksonville 27-0 (4-0).