Lions race past Jacksonville in showdown

John Tyler's Greg Ward looks to dish the ball in the lane against Jacksonville on Friday night at the Lions Den. (Herb Nygren Jr. | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

John Tyler restated its case as the team to beat in the District 14-4A boys basketball race after it waited a year to exact revenge.

Juniors Tyus Bowser and Fred Ross recorded 15 points apiece and John Tyler led from start to finish to gain sole possession of first place with a 62-51 victory over Jacksonville in a showdown Friday night at the Lions Den. 

The streaking Lions (18-5 7-0 in 14-4A) captured their 17th consecutive victory, and 21st straight in district action. JT finished 14-0 in district last year before losing to Jacksonville in the regional quarterfinal, a point not lost on the Lions. 

JT startled Jacksonville by scoring the game’s first 12 points, nine by Ross off a pair of layups, a putback and a three-point play, and a 3-pointer by Caleb Willis. 

In the second period, JT stretched its lead to 18 points after Bowser raced downcourt, caught a pass from Tra’Vion Horn in full stride and jammed down a powerful one-hander to make it 26-8 in the Lions’ favor. Jacksonville (18-6, 6-1) stayed on the chase the entire night, and now must chase from behind with JT atop the district through one half of play. 

“Our kids were ready to play,” JT head coach Tony Pinson said. “They felt they had something to prove. We played with that chip on our shoulder.”

In the second half, Jacksonville worked the JT lead down to six points after a pair of triples to start the third. JT responded with a 12-2 run. Ross kick-started the rally with a three-point play and Bowser followed by rebounding a missed shot and laying it in for a 35-24 cushion. 

JT answered a Jacksonville layup with seven in a row, the highlight when junior guard Greg Ward intercepted a pass and tossed a touchdown-like pass leading to a layup to Ross, one of the quarterback’s favorite targets for the football team, to make it 42-26.

The Lions outscored the Indians 20-0 on fastbreak points. JT dominated inside, beating Jacksonville handily on points in the paint (36-20) and rebounds (3 0-22).

JT received solid efforts from all five starters, including Darion Flowers (10 points, six rebounds, three assists), Willis (11 points, two steals) and Ward (eight points, five assists, five rebounds, four steals). 

“We were getting out and running on the break,” Pinson said. “But Jacksonville’s a good team. I knew they were going to make a run.”

Darius Clater netted a game-high 22 points to lead Jacksonville. 

The Lions look to close out district undefeated, with four of their last seven games at home. 

“We’re in the leadership position,” Pinson said, “But we still have to play everybody one more time so we have to get prepared.”

—–—

John Tyler 62, Jacksonville 51

Jacksonville6121518—51

John Tyler18101915—62

JACKSONVILLE — Dadrian Franklin, 5; Daytron Thompson, 3; Londeric Taylor, 10; Darius Clater, 22; Raybon Riden, 11. 

JOHN TYLER — Darion Flowers, 10; Greg Ward, 8; Jordan Caldwell, 2; Fred Ross, 15; Keaunte Humber,1; Caleb Willis, 11; Tyus Bowser, 15. 

FIELD GOALS — Jacksonville 18-41; John Tyler 23-54. FREE THROWS — Jacksonville 9-17; John Tyler 15-23. THREE-POINT GOALS — Jacksonville 6-13 (Clater 4, Franklin, Thompson); John Tyler 1-5 (Willis). REBOUNDS — Jacksonville 22 (Riden 8); John Tyler 30 (Bowser 10). ASSISTS — Jacksonville 5 (Taylor 3); John Tyler 12 (Ward 5). TOTAL FOULS — Jacksonville 17; John Tyler 19. ATT. — 1,500. 

RECORDS — Jacksonville 18-7 (6-1); John Tyler 18-5 (7-0).

NEXT UP — Jacksonville at Whitehouse, Tuesday; Hallsville at John Tyler, Tuesday. 

———

Junior Varsity

John Tyler 44, Jacksonville 29

Jacksonville71165—29

John Tyler1281311—44

JACKSONVILLE — Kendrick, 4; McCormick, 10; Ruffin, 5; Rodriguez, 5; Boseman, 1; Holman, 4. 

JOHN TYLER — Jeremy Wilson, 4; Isaac Warren, 13; Hennessey Lampkin, 6; Nicholas Cain, 6; Vernon Thomas, 2; Darren Farmer, 6; Rodney Bendy, 4; William Vaughn, 3. 

RECORDS — John Tyler 12-6 (7-0).

NEXT UP — Hallsville at John Tyler, Tuesday. 

———

Freshmen

John Tyler 44, Jacksonville 24

Jacksonville5748—24

John Tyler1471310—44

JACKSONVILLE — Day, 4; McAually, 11; High, 4; McCown, 5.

JOHN TYLER — Leon Gossett, 4; Ken Gossett, 6; Michael Ross, 11; Tony Johnson, 1; Dre Moreland, 2; Geovari McCollister, 9; Jasper, 7; Tedric Attaway, 2. 

THREE-POINT GOALS — Jax: McAually, McCown; JT: Ross. 

RECORDS — John Tyler 6-7 (5-2).

NEXT UP — Hallsville at John Tyler, Tuesday.

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