Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


January 23, 2013

Waco High sends Jackets to fifth straight loss, 68-40

CLEBURNE — The Cleburne Yellow Jacket boys basketball program is going through its growing pains at this point after a 68-40 loss to Waco High at Jeff D. Cody Gymnasium on Tuesday night. It was the Jackets’ fifth loss in a row and sends Cleburne to 2-6 in District 8-4A play.

Cleburne found itself down big from the start, as the Lions jumped out to a 12-0 lead early in the contest. Cleburne’s first point didn’t come until Ryan Kirk hit a pair of free throws with 3:16 remaining in the opening quarter. The Jackets’ first made field goal came 11 seconds into the second quarter on a Marc Murillo jumper at the top of the key.

“You just have to keep working on fundamentals,” Cleburne Coach Jimmy Littleton said. “All these kids are back another year. You just have to keep practicing hard and working hard. We didn’t compete tonight. We were outmanned in the paint, but you’ve got to do things to offset those kind of things. We didn’t do anything to offset their big guy. We didn’t follow the gameplan. They didn’t even start two of their best players. They didn’t even come in until the third quarter. With all of that said, I didn’t think we competed.”

Tuesday’s 28-point loss comes on the heels of a 69-25 loss to Waco University on Friday. After opening district play with two wins in three games, the Jackets have struggled mightily during the five-game losing streak.

Cleburne committed 19 turnovers and allowed 15 offensive rebounds. The Jackets only shot 23 percent from the floor while Waco shot 48 percent from the floor, to go along with 35 free throw attempts.

Waco’s 6-foot-8 Marques Smith was too big to handle for the undersized Jackets as he scored 13 points with five blocked shots and seven offensive rebounds in limited minutes.

Meanwhile, the Jackets struggles putting the ball in the basket continued.

“We don’t put the ball in the hole,” Littleton said. “If you’re going to give up 70 points per game and you only score 30 points, you’re not going to win any games. We can’t run up and down the court with anybody in the state of Texas. That’s not how we play. So when you start running up and down the court against guys who do it every single day, you’re always going to end up on the negative side of the stick.”

Marc Murillo and Eli Upchurch, two of the Jackets’ top options on offense, combined to shoot 5-of-25 from the floor. Murillo led Cleburne with four rebounds.

Al Baylor led Cleburne with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 at the foul line. Baylor added two assists and three steals.

“It is going to be a very, very crucial spring, summer and fall for all of these returners and they’re going to have to change the way they are and they’re going to have to start playing the game of basketball the way it needs to be played,” Littleton said. “If we don’t become more fundamentally sound on both sides of the basketball in the next six to eight months before we start our season again, the results are going to be the same.

“Everybody’s going to have to give 100 percent in the spring, summer and fall, and they’re going to have to work hard and work together, and then we might see some results, but until then, we will not.”

The Jackets look to snap their losing streak when Cleburne plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Joshua.

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