The Jourdanton Indians made their claim to retain the district crown with authority.
Jourdanton (9-1, 6-0) beat Poth 65-44 on Tuesday, Jan. 12. While the scoreline would suggest a convincing win for the Indians, it was anything but that early on.
The Indians fell behind 9-2 in the first half of the first quarter and were 0-for-3 shooting in the first three minutes. Poth was keeping Jourdanton out of rhythm early on by baiting them into fouls. The Indians racked up three quick fouls in the first two minutes of the game.
“To be honest, I feel like every game we’ve played this year has started out that way,” Head Coach Truman Reagan said. “I don’t know what it is. We do want to play physically, but we can’t play like that, obviously. Then you turn around and let your fouls frustrate you on the offensive side and we’re missing layups, missing shots. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us.”
Jourdanton eventually settled down after Ty Smoot picked up the Indians’ first points of the game. That would spark a 10-2 run to the two-minute mark in the first quarter to give the Indians a 12-11 lead. Jourdanton was 5-of- 5 from the field during that stretch. Smoot finished the game with eight points.
“We’ve had that a lot this season. But when we get that first basket, we kind of get our feet under us and we get comfortable,” point guard Payton Gonzales said. “We just started playing Jourdanton basketball.”
That 10-2 run turned into a 12-3 run to close out the first quarter and give the Indians a narrow 14-12 lead entering the second frame.
Jourdanton picked up their defense after the first quarter. They held Poth without a field goal in the first four minutes of the second quarter while going on a 15-4 run to open their lead to 12 points.
The Indians really gathered momentum on that run when Jarel Lilly knifed his way through the Poth defense for a pair of layups, one of which he drew a foul on and made the free throw for an oldfashioned three-point play.
Lilly was held to just nine points on Tuesday, but it was the quality of the points over the quantity that helped spur the Indians to a 36-23 lead at halftime.
“Jarel’s been in some foul trouble the last two games and I think not getting as much playing time, being on the bench for those last two games,” Reagan said. “He was a little cold tonight based on that. But the one thing about Jarel is you’re always going to get effort from him. So, even when things aren’t going right, he’s going to be a spark guy for us.”
Gonzales set the pace for the Indians with 14 points and nine rebounds. Josh Isaac stepped up to add a career-high 12 points for Jourdanton.
Isaac knows he and his teammates have to step up to take the pressure off the shoulders of Gonzales and Lilly.
“We’re always looking for guys to step up,” Isaac said. “I’m usually one of those guys who never scores. Tonight, I think a lot of us stepped up. There’s nothing more we could ask for.”
The Indians finally got the fast start they were looking for in a 64-21 win over previously unbeaten Natalia.
Jourdanton opened the game on an 8-0 run behind three-pointers from Josh Isaac and Jarel Lilly, and used a 10-2 run later in the first quarter to take an 18-8 lead into the second period.
“I feel like we’ve been lacking that first shot to go in, that first layup, that first three. Just something to get these guys going,” Head Coach Truman Reagan said. “We knew we were going to have that space out wide, Natalia wasn’t going to let us drive. I told them we have to make them pay for giving us that space. That was huge for us.”
Jourdanton had a stellar night shooting, posting a 46% clip from the field on Friday. That included five three-pointers. Of Jourdanton’s 15 players suited up for Friday, 10 scored.
The Indians’ clamped down in the third quarter, going on an 18-2 run to grow their lead to 49-13 heading into the fourth quarter. It felt good to finally find that dominant rhythm for Jourdanton.
“After our win against Lytle, we really hadn’t played as good as that game,” Brett Berg said. “This game brought us back to where we should be.”
Gonzales led Jourdanton with 14 points against the Mustangs. Isaac and Smoot each had 10 points, with Smoot just a rebound away from a double-double. Berg finished the game with nine points.
“We make each other available on the floor,” Smoot said. “We get good shots everywhere on the floor. I’m just clean-up. If I miss it, my teammates have me. If my teammates miss it, I have them.”
With the game well at hand in the fourth quarter, Reagan emptied his bench to allow players to get playing time. Sean Luna sent the Jourdanton bench into a frenzy when he nailed a deep threepointer with 1:59 left in the game. It was his first basket at the varsity level.
Reagan was happy to see the pure joy on the faces of guys like Luna and Nick Piedra, who have put in the work over their last three years in the program. Piedra made a similar shot against Poteet.
“Those are two guys that have been in the program and have done everything we’ve asked of them,” Reagan said. “They’ve played on the freshmen and JV teams for the last three years. They got some opportunities and they’re making the most of it. You love to see that because they bring so much energy on the bench. You love when they get rewarded for their hard work and their patience.”
Jourdanton was scheduled to play Cotulla and Dilley this week. Due to COVID-related issues within each of those programs, the games have been postponed with a makeup date to be announced later.