Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


December 5, 2013

Jackets go 2-0 on 1st day of Whitney Tourney

WHITNEY — The Cleburne Yellow Jackets entered the first day of the Whitney Tournament with one win. After the first day of tournament play, the Jackets ended the day with three wins as they went 2-0 Thursday.

In Cleburne’s tournament opener against Crawford, the Jackets pulled away in the second half for a 43-21 win. The Jackets then defeated North Central Texas Academy, 47-42, to cap day 1 of the Whitney Tournament.

Against Crawford, the two teams took the entire first half feeling each other out after a 9 a.m. start. Cleburne held a 16-10 lead at halftime. Crawford scored four points in the second quarter and Cleburne scored six.

The Jacket offense then woke up in the second half, as Cleburne scored 13 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth quarter while the Jackets held Crawford to eight points in the third and three points in the fourth.

“Defensively, we picked it up a little bit,” Cleburne Coach Ed King said. “We got some big stops. We had 16 turnovers, which I think is way too many against a team that’s not pressing us. I thought offensively, we executed well. I thought we ran our plays and got some wide open looks. A lot of them we didn’t knock down in the first half, but we started to knock down some shots in the second half. I’m proud of them as far as executing. It was a game where we had a comfortable lead so we could just run our stuff, stay solid and execute.”

The Jackets built a 10-point lead at 26-16 midway through the third quarter and coasted to the win from there.

Marc Murillo led Cleburne with 12 points as he was 6-of-6 shooting.

“I thought Marc had a solid game inside and definitely played strong,” King said. “That’s one of his strong points — playing strong and using his strength to get to the basket. I thought he had a solid game. I don’t think he had very many rebounds so that’s something we have to work on.”

After missing his first six shots, Eli Upchurch finished the game with 10 points — all in the second half — and three steals.

Bre Miller led the Jackets with four assists to go along with nine points and two steals. Nathan Ramirez had a team-high five rebounds as well as four points. Reed Donaldson had only two points, but was solid defensively as he drew three charges.

“Like I told them in the locker room, we’re working to get better every single game, especially when we get a game like that — a game that we should’ve won and a game we had control of — so that was good,” King said.

Cleburne forced Crawford into 19 turnovers and held the Pirates to 25 percent shooting, including 0-for-9 from three. The Jackets, meanwhile, shot 50 percent from the floor.

Against NCTA, the Jackets trailed, 22-19, at halftime. Cleburne scored the final five points of the second quarter after trailing, 22-14.

NCTA shot 50 percent in the first half, including 6-of-9 in the first quarter, but the Jackets’ defense picked up in the second half and held the Pioneers to 38 percent shooting, including forcing 10 second-half turnovers.

The Jackets used a 10-2 scoring run to open the third quarter and outscored NCTA, 19-7, in the quarter.

With 2:55 left to play, Cleburne held a 43-34 lead when NCTA began full-court pressing the Jackets. After NCTA cut it to 43-36, Upchurch beat the press and found Ramirez for a layup to regain the nine-point edge with 37 second remaining.

Miller hit a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left to close the game.

“That was a good win against a quality team and a well-coached team,” King said. “I knew nothing about them before the game, but they play hard, they do what their coach asks them to do and he does a good job with them. It was a good, quality win. Getting a lead and learning how to close it out, I think we got better in that as a team with this game.

“We’ve been practicing that a whole lot, putting them in situations where we have the lead and we have to take care of the ball and execute down the stretch. I think the practices are starting to pay off. I was proud of them for closing out and hopefully we can continue to do it.”

Cleburne committed 13 turnovers while forcing NCTA into 20 turnovers.

The Jackets were led by Upchurch’s 14 points and four steals while Murillo and Ramirez each added nine points. Ryan Kirk led Cleburne with seven rebounds and five assists to go along with four points. Miller scored seven points for Cleburne (3-4).


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