JOURDANTON—Jourdanton boys basketball coach Joseph Garmon knows just how competitive District 26-3A is. A year ago, his talented Indians squad fell outside the playoff picture following some tight losses.
In many ways, Karnes City parallels that Jourdanton team this season.
Despite a skilled roster, the Badgers have suffered a number of single-digit losses, including a three-point overtime setback Jan. 30 against second-place Poth.
So it was no surprise how close Friday’s contest was against Karnes City, which entered in second-to-last place.
The Indians used an 8-0 run to open the fourth quarter to separate from the pesky Badgers, clinching a playoff berth with a 60-52 home win.
“Coach [Kyle] Armstrong does a great job with his kids, and they get after it,” Garmon said. “We were fortunate enough to get them by eight. They took Poth to overtime, and they were up on them. They lose on a buzzer-beater to [San Antonio] Brooks. Our district is as tough as it gets.”
Jourdanton turned a three-point lead into 11 within the first two minutes of the final frame, led by four points from guard Jarel Lilly. The freshman had a team-high 19 points, combining well with seniors Tyler Dorroh (13) and Payton Kaiser (12).
It has been a mix of underclassmen and senior leaders that have taken the Indians (19-9, 6-3 district) to third place in 26-3A.
“The team chemistry is what’s carried our team so far this year,” Jourdanton senior captain Michael Klumb said. “The way we play together, we love each other so much. That’s what’s got us this far, and it’s going to take us to new levels.”
“Our leadership is second to none,” Garmon said. “You would be surprised how little we have to coach in practice because of leaders like Klumb, Will Reynolds, Jacob Reyna. And then everybody just jumps on.”
Jourdanton spoiled a big night from 6-foot-5 post Colby Robinson, who poured in a game-best 29 points to keep Karnes City (15-13, 2-8) afloat. The senior’s three-point play brought the Badgers within two with 1:49 before the fourth quarter, and Karnes City trailed by three going into the final eight minutes.
“He’s a big guy, and he’s good,” Garmon said of Robinson. “…But I got a guy in Tyler Dorroh that’s pretty good as well. And he was ready for that challenge.”
Lilly knocked down a 3-pointer to start the 8-0 fourth-quarter run, and the Badgers could not get closer than five points the rest of the way.
Karnes City got off to a nice start, going up by as many as seven. However, the Badgers fell behind 15-14 after the first quarter and never retook the lead.
The Indians have won consecutive games since having a full roster. Jourdanton has dealt with injuries and illness that has kept players out of the lineup in spurts throughout the year.
“We’re trying to win out,” Klumb said. “Last game [against Fox Tech] was our first game with everybody back. Today, we’re just keeping that train moving. Now that we have all our pieces, we’re looking forward to every game that we get to play.”