Jacksonville Boys Knock Out Corsicana For Playoff Berth
ATHENS -- It's not going to be an easy road for Jacksonville, but there is indeed a path toward a state championship.
The Indians pulled away from Corsicana late for a 67-59 win Friday at Trinity Valley Community College in the District 16-5A fourth-place tiebreaker game. Corsicana's season ended with the loss.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, will face a two-loss Marshall team next week in the bi-district round at a time, date and location to be coordinated between the two schools.
"I'm super proud of them," Jacksonville head coach Mark Alexander said. "Super proud. I love them. They're high character kids and so fun to coach."
Corsicana (14-13) and the Indians (20-11) finished the regular season in a two-way tie for the district's final playoff seed with 5-7 league records.
They split two previous meetings. Jacksonville edged Corsicana at home, 53-52, in its first district game of the year and fell on the road, 62-52, in late January.
The play-in game was another tight one. Neither team pulled ahead by more than four points through the first three quarters.
Fouling turned out to be Jacksonville's friend. It entered the fourth period one foul away from working against the double bonus while Corsicana still had a foul to give before the Indians got their first one-and-one opportunity.
Corsicana shot 8-for-18 from the free throw line in its eight-point defeat. As it dug deeper into that hole and began fouling to give itself more chances, Jacksonville countered with 13-for-15 shooting from the line.
The Indians also held a narrow shooting edge. They connected on 23 of 56 shots to Corsicana's 21 of 53 night.
Jacksonville additionally recorded 33 rebounds to Corsicana's 21 boards. It won more than half of the opportunities on its own side the floor and 50 percent of the balls on the attacking side of the court.
Combined, the team wiggled out of losing the turnover battle, 14 to seven.
"We got the ball at the high-post and mid-post areas, and we made shots," Alexander said. "That's a problem that we've had against them. Their length really bothers our shooting. They're so long, defensively, that it's hard to get a clean shot off. We did a lot of preparation with bigger guys this week in practice. I think that may have paid off."
Jacksonville endured 10 lead changes and three tied scores through the contest. It trailed by four points after the first quarter, by a point at halftime and only held a four-point lead into the final period.
Carlos Tovias got Corsicana back within a possession with six minutes left to play, 44-42.
The Indians answered with an 8-0 run, the largest single spree of the game, to get a grip on the contest. Senior shooting guard Kariem Clayborne's four points headlined the run, which featured 4-for-5 shooting from the charity stripe.
Up 56-49, Jacksonville started to work the clock at the three-minute mark with Clayborne and senior point guard Jacolby Robinson up top. It forced Corsicana to foul.
Clayborne and Robinson shot 8-for-10 from the line down the stretch.
Jonah McKissak scored a game-best 23 points for Corsicana in his final high school competition.
Robinson put up a team-best 16 points for the Indians. Clayborne finished second with 15 points off the bench. De'Vun Hamilton's 10 points rounded out Jacksonville's double-digit scorers.
Jacksonville has a big challenge coming up. Marshall hammered the squad, 71-49, in November.
"We know they're the best team in East Texas," Clayborne said. "But we're not the same team we were the first time we played them."
Jacksonville 67, Corsicana 59
District 16-5A Fourth-Place Game
At Trinity Valley Community College, Athens
Corsicana 12 13 11 23 -- 59
Jacksonville 8 16 16 27 -- 67
JACKSONVILLE (13-11) -- Jacolby Robinson 16, Kariem Clayborne 15, De'vun Hamilton 13, D'Montrey Christopher 8, Josh McDowell 8, Giovanni Villarreal 5, Cameron High 2.
CORSICANA (15-18) -- Jonah McKissack 23, Carlos Tovias 11, Chris Beachum 8, Tyler Donaldson 8, Devan Lindsay 5, Xavier Britt-Dooley 4.
THREE-POINT GOALS -- Corsicana: McKissack (2), Tovias (2), Britt-Dooley, Lindsay. Jacksonville: Hamilton (2), Clayborne.