LINDALE — This district’s eventual winner was hardly in doubt.
Jordan VanDeKop, in his final home game, took over in the second half to score a game-high 25 points and lead Lindale past Wills Point, 47-28, in a District 14-3A showdown Friday at the LHS gymnasium.
The victory, which came on Senior Night, gave the Eagles (19-5, 9-0) the outright league championship with one game remaining in the regular season.
Wills Point (19-16, 7-2) was trying to force a tie atop the standings, a year after falling to the Eagles in a one-game playoff for the league.
“Our kids have come in with a lot of confidence in the last few games,” Lindale coach Scott Albritton said. “We were able to run the floor and get easy baskets.”
The Eagles took the first meeting between the teams in much closer fashion, holding on for a 50-44 win. The rematch appeared to be headed for the same style of game in the first quarter, during which the teams traded scores before Lindale went on a 6-0 run to take a 14-9 lead into the second quarter.
The Eagles took their first double-digit lead, 22-11, with about three minutes remaining in the half, thanks to a Mason Terry putback. They entered the break up 26-16.
Josiah Johnson scored nine points and Terry added six for Lindale, which is allowing only 34 points a game in district and outscored Wills Point 14-6 in the third quarter to pull away. Thirteen of the 14 points were produced by VanDeKop, who scored 17 points in the second half.
Darryn York finished with 14 points to pace the Tigers, who trimmed the deficit to 40-34 with 4:30 left in the third quarter. Two minutes later, however, VanDeKop put the Eagles back up by 11 points on a three-point play.
The 6-6 post scored another pair of buckets during the final 1:26 to increase the advantage to 15 points. Lindale’s biggest lead of the fourth was 21 points.
Lindale travels to Rains for the district finale at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Eagles will play Class 2A second-ranked White Oak in a warmup game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18 at UT Tyler’s Herrington Patriot Center.
Wills Point closes the regular season Tuesday at Quinlan Ford.
Lindale 47, Wills Point 28
Wills Point 9 9 6 4 — 28
Lindale 14 12 14 7 — 47
WILLS POINT — Tre’ Smith, 2; Darryn York, 14; Dakota Raines, 2; Micky Morris, 6; Stevie Burch, 4.
LINDALE — Steven Young, 3; Jordan VanDeKop, 25; Josiah Johnson, 9; Austin Drawbond, 4; Mason Terry, 6.
THREE-POINT GOALS — WP: York (2). L: none.
RECORDS — Wills Point 19-16 (7-2); Lindale 19-5 (9-0).
NEXT UP — Wills Point at Quinlan Ford, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; Lindale at Rains, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.