The Jackson Indians are having a fine season, sitting at 12-5, but the Cape Central Tigers have been their kryptonite. Boasting an 18-0 record, the Tigers have now beaten the Indians three times this season, and account for 60% of the Tribe’s losses. The 53-47 loss was a heart-breaker, as the Indians were leading until the final quarter on Friday, but at least Jackson had a statement win earlier in the week against another division rival in Poplar Bluff. They beat the Mules 67-47 on Tuesday.
Let’s start with that one. The Indians went off in the first quarter at both ends of the court as they hosted Poplar Bluff, winning the opening eight-minute battle 14-1. That’s right. The Mules managed just a solitary point. But they adjusted, and came back with 19 in the second. Jackson grinded out 14, but that five-point deficit cut into their cushy lead. After the half expired they still owned a 28-20 advantage though.
The Indians got back to business after the break however, churning out 21 points for the highest scoring quarter of the game. The Mules kicked back with 15, but the differential only increased Jackson’s lead. thirty total points were scored in the final frame, but 18 of them belonged to the Indians, and Jackson would cruise to a 20-point victory. The 67-47 win bumped their record to 12-4.
Blayne Harris was a stud in this one, leading the way with 21 points. He hit 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and had four assists and three rebounds as well. Big Man Clayton Ernst was a force as well with the game’s only double-double, notching 11 points and 12 rebounds. Kaedmon Winborne was the only other figure in double digits with his 10 points and he also led the team with three steals.
That winner’s high would only last a few days though, as the Tribe would have to host their rivals on Friday, and it wasn’t the result that Indian fans were looking for. It started out great for Jackson with a 15-8 first quarter and an 11-6 second, but this was a game of two halves to say the least.
Harris was up to his old tricks in this one with nine first-quarter points on three buckets and a make from beyond the arc, to start the Indians off right. Ernst and Steven Schneider took care of the scoring in the second, and it looked like much needed redemption time for Jackson, as they cruised into the break with a 26-14 lead.
That tune would sharply change in the second half though, as Cape Central got their affairs in order and did what they have been doing to every single opponent this season. They fired back with 18 points in the third quarter and held Jackson to 14 to cut the deficit to eight heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Jackson was up 37-24 at one point, but those pesky Tigers kept clawing their way back in. About halfway through the fourth they had tied the game at 44-all, and would just keep going from there. A big three-pointer put them up 47-44 and they never looked back. Jackson would be chasing for the remainder of the game, having to force Cape to the line.
The Tigers hit their shots and ended up taking the game 53-47. It was a brutal ending to a a hard-fought game that just got away from the Indians. Two of their consistent big threats were contained for the entire game in Ernst (6 points) and Winborne (2 points), and Harris, who had an exceptional first half and 14 points overall, was blanketed in the the final 16 minutes.
Schneider was the team leader with 17 points and hit a pair of huge threes, and despite him being the only Indian to score a point in the fourth quarter, it simply wasn’t enough. The Tribe was squashed by their rivals once again and that third sting makes the wound swell even more.
They will look to shake off that loss and get back to their winning ways next Tuesday as they host Cape Notre Dame, looking to grab that superstitious 13th win.