Jourdanton’s basketball season was closing in on the final minutes of their season, but, down by 12 points, the Indians were not in unfamiliar territory.
With six seconds left in the game, Clyde Schuchart caught a pass and shot what could have been the final shot for Jourdanton this season. Instead, his three-pointer hit the mark and completed the comeback for a 54-53 win over the Marion Bulldogs on Saturday in the regional quarterfinals.
It will be the first time the team has gone to the regional semifinals since 2008.
“We drew up a play and I wish I could have told you that’s how we drew it up,” Schuchart said. “But we knew somebody had to step up and Payton [Gonzales] dished the ball off the tough drive, which took guys off me and left me open.”
Jourdanton trailed by 19 points at home against Lytle and 9-2 early on against Poth back in January. Jourdanton entered the fourth quarter down 44-32. The Indians went on a 21-9 run to close Saturday’s game.
The familiarity of playing from behind helped the Indians make history Saturday night.
“We definitely have something special,” Schuchart said. “We’ve got 15 guys in there that are more than family to me. We love each other and practice hard every day.”
Jourdanton struggled in the second quarter, failing to score a field goal. Marion went on a 13-5 run to take a 30-18 lead into halftime. The Indians shot 20% from the field and 5-of-10 from the free throw line in the first half. Meanwhile, Marion shot 41% from the field in the first half.
“We can’t have anymore of those slow second quarters. We have to come out hot the entire game,” Schuchart stated.
Jarel Lilly had a team-high 22 points for Jourdanton.
“That first half, our shots weren’t falling,” Lilly said. “We still have to work on that at practice. They were hitting some really
big shots and we just can’t get overwhelmed about it.”
Marion’s Ryken Autry had 30 points and one last chance to win it for Marion, but his layup bounced out of the rim and knocked Marion out of the playoffs.
Lilly and Schuchart both shared that their nerves were a factor in the game, but Gonzales saw the nerves in another light.
“The maturity in our team as we go through every game allows us just to come out strong,” Gonzales said. “If we weren’t nervous, then it would be like we didn’t care for the game. Our nerves start to go away when we are hitting.”
The last time Marion and Jourdanton faced off the Bulldogs won 70-46, that loss stayed in the mind of the Indians–it was their lone loss of the season.
Head Coach Truman Reagan credited Marion for their effort, but Jourdanton wasn’t going to take another loss to the Bulldogs.
“We had this in mind, when we picked up that game and said, ‘Win or lose, that game is going to make us better.’ Then when we lost it was like, ‘I hope we get Marion in the playoffs,’” Reagan said.
It wasn’t a revenge game for the Indians. It was more of a way for Jourdanton to show Marion who they really are as a team.
“It is incredibly huge. I can’t put it into words. We are ready for what’s next,” Josh Isaac said with tears in his eyes.
Isaac had six points, including two three-pointers that helped turn the 12-point deficit to a one-point win.
“Something big is coming, something I think Jourdanton has never done before,” Isaac said. “This group right here, we’re gonna make history.”
This season, the Indians’ schedule was rearranged by COVID-19 and a historic winter storm, just to name a few. Jourdanton feels they have benefited from that adversity.
“I think of it as a blessing,” Schuchart explained. “I don’t think that we could overcome as much adversity if it wasn’t for quarantines and moving games, we’ll play anytime, anyplace as long as we get to put on our jerseys and keep on competing.”
Next up for Jourdanton (21-1) is Santa Rosa (15-3) in the regional semifinals with details still to be determined.
This story will be updated for the March 3 edition.