Maybe the best way to look at this game is the way Ralph Watts saw it.
“It was nerve-wracking,’’ Watts said. “You can be nervous, but you can’t play nervous.’’
Maybe that’s what won this one in the end, this 65-64 hang-on-to-anything-you-can-grab Corsicana win over Jacksonville Friday night.
It’s a game the Tigers had to have and they had just enough to win it.
They didn’t even score a basket in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over 11 times in the final eight minutes, but they made it — just like they made those clutch free throws to put away Jacksonville, which came back from a 15-point deficit to get on everyone’s nerves.
Cana still led 61-54 with 1:20 left before the Indians explode for a 7-2 run that included 3 by Raybon Ragsdale, who led Jacksonville with 20 points, with 1:20 left, a steal and drive by Dayton Thompson and a tip-in by Ragsdale with 35 seconds left to close to 63-61.
But the Tigers, who were living on the free throw line, stayed alive when Watts hit a free throw with 33 seconds left and hit an even bigger one with 11 seconds left to lift Corsicana to a 65-61 lead.
Jacksonville flew down the court and Datavion Thacker busted a 3 with 0:03 on the clock to make the final a one-pint game.
You could almost hear the Tigers say a collective, “whew,’’ when it ended.
Cana made 12 of 18 free throws in the fourth and finished the game making 27 of 47 from the line.
“It was pretty exciting,’’ said Mike Lewis, who scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds to go along with two blocks and a pretty emphatic dunk. “It had my adrenaline going but at the same time we had to stay focused and we made most of our free throws, which surprised me.’’
Lewis made 5-of-6 free throws in the fourth.
“Coach told us that they had to foul us because they didn’t have any time outs,’’ Lewis said. “And we stepped up. We were focused on getting this win.’’
The Tigers (15-10) almost had to have it. They started the night at 2-4 in the District 16-4A race, tied for the fourth spot, and the top four teams make it to the postseason.
“It meant a lot,’’ Lewis said. “We want to improve ourselves and get the third spot going into the playoffs. We knew we were 2-4 and they were 4-3 and we were focused on getting the win.’’
Watts said it meant lot and called it a, “motivator.’’ He said they had to have it.
“We put too much work into it not to get anything out of it,’’ said Watts, who led everyone with 21 points. “We wanted this win. We played harder than them. We didn’t make our free throws to start, but we made them when we had to.’’
That’s what this team is growing into — a clutch group that is learning how to win close games.
“You can tell we haven’t been in a lot of close games,’’ Coach Don Newton said. We’ve played well, but we always don’t get the horse in the barn.
“We needed that win,’’ h said. “This league is very balanced. The fifth and sixth teams have beaten the first and second teams. We’re tied for fourth and we want that third spot. The fourth team in this district will play (top-seeded) Lancaster, the No. 3 team in the state.’’
The idea is avoid that showdown. Jonah McKissack had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and he also blocked a shot. Danair Martin scored seven points and Jamaal Evans dropped in six.
Corsicana — and especially Lewis — came out like it was do or die and ripped off a 9-0 lead before the Indians (20-9) knew what hit them. Lewis scored six of Corsicana’s first 11 points and had a rim-shaking dunk to put the Tigers ahead 11-3 after Ragsdale got Jacksonville on the board.
“Coach has been telling me I need to step up,’’ Lewis said.
He did. Ad so did the Tigers, who built their biggest lead of the night to 15 points (48-33 late in the third) before Ragsdale hit back-to-back 3s to close to 48-39. Lewis took a touchdown pass on a fastbreak and scored to end the third, up 52-39.
But that was Corsicana’s last basket.
“I felt our effort was superior most of the night,’’ Newton said. “They came back, but when the game was on the line we had some guys step up and make some free throws. The kids played hard.’’
GC Basketball: Corsicana boys hold on to win a thriller, girls lose on shot at the buzzer to Jacksonville
Maybe the best way to look at this game is the way Ralph Watts saw it.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris
Minutes after Navarro split a doubleheader with Paris on Wednesday, Navarro softball Coach Jessica Karenke was told her Bulldogs had just been nationally ranked and are now No. 16 in the NJCAA national softball poll.
She had no idea.
And she didn't care.
Karenke is worried about what happens on the diamond, and she had some concerns after Navarro made four errors in the second game that opened the door for Paris to pull off a 7-2 win after the Bulldogs and Ciara Luna controlled the first game with a 4-1 win.
GC: Mildred's O'Sullivan and Bland chosen to play in FCA All-Star games
Mildred’s Devin O’Sullivan and Callie Bland have been selected to play in the FCA’s All-Star games on June 1.
CHS Baseball: Lindale haunts Tigers again with critical 4-0 win
Lindale has been poison to Corsicana all year.
The Eagles won a bizarre game in Lindale to keep the Tigers out of the football playoffs and ruined the boys basketball season with two gut-wrenching wins in the final week of the season.
They did it again Tuesday, beating the Tigers 4-0 at Price Field to take over second place in the District 16-4A race.
Lindale (6-2) had one big inning to hand Corsicana (5-3) its second loss in a row.
GC Volleyball: Kerens' Kelly signs with Paris Junior College
She prayed about it. She lost sleep about it. And she prayed about it some more.
That's just a glimpse of what Marqueshia Kelly went through before deciding to turn down a half dozen basketball scholarships and accept a scholarship to play volleyball at Paris Junior College.
The journey might have been a little sleepless, but in the end it wasn't that tough for Kelly, who is a multi-sport star at Kerens.
“I followed my heart,'' she said on Tuesday just moments after signing a letter-of-intent to play volleyball at Paris in front of family, coaches and friends.
CHS Tennis: Tigers play well in powerhouse region
Corsicana's tennis team finished its season with a strong showing in the Class 4A Regional Tournament at UT-Arlington before falling to some powerhouse players from Dallas.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Blooming Grove edges Mildred 1-0 (Adds Dawson-Hubbard baseball)
Blooming Grove kept its baseball playoff hopes alive, winning a pitcher’s duel, 1-0, in Mildred Tuesday night. Dalton Blake struck out 11 and scattered five hits in a well-pitched game that took an hour and a half to complete.
Navarro Softball: Bulldogs sweep Bossier on Sophomore Day
From a one-sided laugher to a hold-your-breath finish, Navarro’s softball team celebrated Sophomore Day on Saturday in front of its largest crowd of the season.
The Bulldogs ripped Bossier 14-1 in a five-inning romp and then had to fight for their lives in the second game, finally winning 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh with a squeeze bunt that brought home Caitlin Moerbe, who ended the day with a dust-filled slide at the plate.
GC Softball: Hubbard, Curtis shut out Axtell 3-0
For Hubbard’s Olivia Curtis the magic number was 15 -- as in 15 wins and 15 strikeouts.
But don’t stop counting now. There’s plenty left for Curtis and her Hubbard teammates who have made the most of their stretch run in the district race, and capped off a huge week with a 3-0 win over Axtell on Friday.
GC Baseball/Softball: Roundup -- Kerens' Anderson pitches perfect game (ADDS Dawson baseball)
Brett Anderson threw a five-inning perfect game Friday at home to lead Kerens over Neches 11-0 in a key district game that leaves the Bobcats in first place with a two-game lead.
CHS Baseball: Tigers lose to Nacogdoches 4-1
In a battle for first place in the District16-4A race, Nacogdoches and pitcher Brigham Hill stopped Corsicana’s Tigers 4-1 Friday to take over the lead in the district with a 6-1 record. The Tigers are now 5-2 and face Lindale, which is also 5-2, at Price Field on Tuesday night to try to gain ground in a tough district race.
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- Navarro Softball: Bulldogs get ranked, split with Paris