JACKSONVILLE — Tyler High’s Lions came roaring back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to catch Jacksonville on the scoreboard, as the Indians held on to win, 68-62.
The District 16-5A opener was played before a loud and energy-filled crowd, which is the norm whenever these two teams meet on the hardwood, at the John Alexander Gymnasium.
With 3:01 left in regulation, Ashad Walker sank a pair of shots from the free throw line that pulled Tyler to with a couple of points, 56-54.
Jacksonville head coach Mark Alexander immediately called a time out in an effort to put an end to Tyler’s 9-2 run at the time.
Vito High, the Tribe’s leading scorer, took control of the situation by scoring back-to-back baskets coming out of the time out, first hitting an 8-foot jumper and then raising the roof by slamming down a one-handed flush that moved Jacksonville to a 60-54 lead with 2:18 left.
The Lions got within four points of Jacksonville twice in the final two minutes, but that was as close as the Lions would come to pulling out a win.
Walker led all players with 22 points, followed by Malik Ray with 16 and Montrell Wade, who tossed in eight.
Jacksonville led 31-25 at the break and 48-37 going into the fourth period.
The Lions out performed the Indians in the final segment, scoring 25 points to Jacksonville’s 20.
High ended up with a team-high 21 points for the Indians.
Devin McCuin knocked in 13 points and Karmelo Clayborne had 12.
Both clubs will continue conference play on Friday. Tyler hosts Lufkin (6:45 p.m.) and Jacksonville is slated to travel to Nacogdoches.