Jackets win home finale
There was plenty to celebrate at senior night for the Mineola basketball fans. Four seniors – Isaiah Gardner, TJ Moreland, D.J. Newsome and Dawson Pendergrass -- started the game against the …
Jackets win home finale
There was plenty to celebrate at senior night for the Mineola basketball fans. Four seniors – Isaiah Gardner, TJ Moreland, D.J. Newsome and Dawson Pendergrass -- started the game against the visiting Harmony Eagles and led the way to a 64-58 win for the Yellowjackets.
A special recognition for teammate JaMarcus Kennedy was made during the pre-game activity. Kennedy continues to battle the effects of an injury incurred early-on in football season.
Kennedy’s fellow seniors gave the Jackets a quick start. They tallied the first eight points before the normal substitution routine commenced.
The first quarter saw some of the most fluid offensive play for the Jackets all season. In fact, ball movement was a telling aspect to Mineola’s performance on the night – at least through three complete quarters.
The Jackets pressed out to a 13-8 lead after one quarter. Each team then ranged in their shooters, chalking up 20 points aside in the second quarter.
Three passages of play were especially noteworthy in the first half. To open the second quarter, Moreland provided a cutting Braydon Alley with an outstanding assist; Alley slashed through the lane and scored.
As halftime neared, Pendergrass found Gardner inside, who went up for a strong basket and completed a three-point play.
In the closing moments of the half, Moreland was on the line, shooting two foul shots. He tossed the first through, as expected. Pendergrass then entered the game and as he took his rebounding position along the lane exchanged a glance with Moreland. Moreland’s second attempt hit squarely off the back iron, with the rebound coming straight out to Pendergrass. Pendergrass carried the ball out, returned it to Moreland who drove to the basket for a score, and was fouled. Moreland then sunk another free throw.
It was a 4-point play.
Mineola held a 33-28 advantage at the half.
Excellent shooting by the Eagles tied the game at 34 early in the third quarter, but the Jackets had the run of play in the quarter and opened as large as a 15-point lead.
The final quarter saw much action, but not a lot of scoring. Harmony continued to close the score thanks to their long-range shooting. The Jackets secured the most important rebounds when needed and ended their regular season with a win.
In addition to the positive characteristics of the Jackets’ play on the night -- ball movement, rebounding and unselfish play – perhaps the most important was defeating a solid team who could play to their strengths.
East Texas playoff basketball is chockfull of teams who can do just that.
The Jackets completed the regular season as district runnersup and entered the state playoffs Monday, facing New Boston for the bidistrict title. (See related story)