ARLINGTON — The Cleburne Yellow Jackets held on down the stretch for a 51-48 win Tuesday night at Arlington Seguin.
The Jackets picked up their second consecutive win in District 9-5A play to improve to 2-2 while the defending district champion Cougars fell to 1-3 in league play.
“I didn't feel like we played smoothly but I did feel like we played efficiently,” Cleburne Coach Kurt White said. “We made mistakes I didn't want to happen. But we capitalized off some of their turnovers. The important thing is we have two road wins. And two road wins in this district are big, I don't care where you go.”
The Jackets received another sparkling performance from senior Addison Wallace, who poured in an efficient 29 points on 9-of-13 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
“It's no secret — it runs through him,” White said. “We need that from Addison and he's going to have to keep performing, period.”
It was a back-and-forth game, with the largest lead a seven-point advantage for Cleburne at 37-30 late in the third quarter. The Jackets carried a 43-37 lead into the fourth, but Cleburne faltered at times in the final 8 minutes, allowing Arlington Seguin to get right back in it.
The Jackets opened the final frame with three straight turnovers, and the Cougars quickly pulled to within a point at 43-42.
A pair of free throws by Wallace and two more free throws by Garrett Wilson gave Cleburne a 47-42 lead with 4:27 left to play, but Seguin wouldn't go away.
After the Cougars turned another Cleburne turnover into a score to make it a one-possession game with 3:36 left, the Jackets were able to burn some time off the clock before Wallace buried a huge 3-pointer for a 50-44 lead with 2:55 left.
But three Cleburne turnovers over the next few moments allowed Seguin to cut the lead to two points at 50-48 with 1:22 left. The Jackets then committed their ninth turnover of the fourth quarter and the Cougars had the ball with a chance to tie it or take the lead with under 1 minute remaining.
After sitting for the first three quarters, Ben Philips checked into the game for stretches throughout the fourth quarter for his defensive play, and the junior guard came up with a huge stop in forcing a Seguin turnover with 41 seconds left to give the ball back to the Jackets.
“That's just 'Big Play' Ben there,” White said. “Ben Philips is a classic example of an excellent teammate that plays his role very well. One of Ben's biggest strengths is playing good position defense and he was in the right spot at the right time. Ben made me look good there so I appreciate him there.
“People need to understand it's about your role and Ben played his role very well tonight. We talk about that in practice — when your time comes, perform.”
Cleburne then burned 20 seconds off the clock before Wallace was fouled. He hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 51-48 lead, and Arlington Seguin's 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the front of the rim as the Jackets held on for the win.
Chris Arthurs added 11 points for the Jackets.
Cleburne shot 51 percent from the floor while Arlington Seguin made 41 percent of its attempts.
The Jackets look for a three-game winning streak when they host Burleson at 8 p.m. Friday.