The Jackson Indians made a commendable run in the Lindbergh Flyer Tournament last week, but fell in the finals to a superior Westminster team. They dominated Roosevelt with Carnahan in the opener, and then scraped by against the Lindbergh Flyers on Tuesday 55-52, but had their hands full against Westminster Christian Academy just two days later. The 10-5 Wildcats stuck it to the Tribe 51-36, dropping the Indians to 11-4 on the season and costing them some hardware.
After an easy 74-39 win over the Roosevelt Roughriders on Monday, the Indians dug in against the hosts of the tournament the next day. It would be a battle, as both teams put up nine points in the first quarter, but Lindbergh pulled away slightly in the second with an 11-9 effort. That gave them a two-point lead heading into the break.
But the Indians were far from done. They bounced back in the third with a 16-14 effort, and set the stage for a clutch fourth quarter with the game all tied up at 34. Jackson gutted this one out with 21 points in the final frame and managed to stave off the Flyer attack just enough. They put in 18 but came up three points shy and the Indians held on for the win and a trip to the finals.
Big man Clayton Ernst came up huge in this one with a double-double, draining 15 points and securing 10 rebounds. Blayne Harris barely edged him out in the scoring department with 16, and Kaedmon Winborne had 11 to round out the top scorers.
The finale, however, would be a less fruitful affair, according to Jackson fans. The Westminster Wildcats struck early and often in this one and made the Indians work for it in every quarter of play. They jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the first, but both defenses were staying sharp in hopes of bringing home a title.
The Tribe gutted out 13 points in the second, but the big cats were just a bit better with 14 of their own. That gave Westminster a 24-20 lead at the half and put Jackson in a hole that was reasonable to climb out of, but certainly not an easy one.
After the break Westminster came out gunning with a 13-point effort and kept the Indians at bay with just nine. That suffocating Wildcat defense would be paramount in the final 16 minutes, as Jackson could scrape together just seven points in the final quarter, while getting doubled up on the receiving end. The Wildcats tacked on 14 and won the last frame handily to take home the 51-36 victory and the Championship.
Harris was the only player in double figures in this one with 11 points on a trio of three-pointers. Ernst had ten boards to lead the squad and chipped in with eight points, while Judd Thoma had eight as well and managed five rebounds and three assists. The Wildcats were shifty though, noted by just two overall steals by this Jackson club that is normally notoriously theft-worthy.
The Indians will try and rebound on Tuesday as they take on Poplar Bluff at home in an attempt to improve on their 11-4 record.