By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Tigers missed on their second try to clinch a playoff spot with Tuesday night’s stunning 57-47 loss to Lindale at Tiger Gym.
The only good news is the night ended with Corsicana learning it will get one last chance to earn a trip to the postseason.
Maybe the third will be a charm.
Corsicana fell to a Lindale team that won its first district game in 10 tries Tuesday night, then had to root for Whitehouse to rally in the second half against Nacogdoches. The Wildcats came through and beat the Dragons 70-64.
That sets up a fourth-place play-in game between the Tigers and Nacogdoches later this week — likely on Friday night — at a time and place to be determined. The loser’s season will end.
“Obviously, we don’t want our season to end,” Tigers coach Don Newton said. “We should feel really fortunate after losing Friday night and then again tonight. We can’t shoot 25 percent and allow our opponent to shoot 52 percent.”
Corsicana (21-11, 3-7) could have clinched a playoff spot with a win Friday night at Nacogdoches, and again against Lindale. But the Tigers played tight, missed too many shots and ended the district season on a five-game losing streak.
The Tigers started slowly Tuesday, trailing 10-3 after the first quarter. But they found their range — mainly Dzifa Mallet found his range — to take a 19-18 halftime lead. Mallet scored 11 of his 13 points in the second quarter.
“I was happy with how we responded after falling behind,” Newton said.
The Tigers went up 21-18 on another Mallet jumper 30 seconds into the third quarter, and then Lindale went on a 15-0 run that basically settled the game.
Court Brown made three consecutive 3-pointers during the Lindale run that put the Tigers behind 33-21 with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
“We knew they would come in and play well,” Newton said. “They did.”
The Tigers also knew Lindale would slow the game down, and Corsicana couldn’t up the tempo and settle into a rhythm until the fourth quarter.
Lindale built its lead to 45-29 and still led 51-40 with 1:19 left in the game when the Tigers suddenly closed the gap.
Danair Martin scored off a rebound to make it 51-42. After Lindale missed a short shot, Mike Lewis made a 3-pointer and was fouled with 50.2 seconds left to cut Lindale’s lead to 51-45.
Lewis made the free throw, but a lane violation took away the point and killed the Tigers momentum.
Now Corsicana has to regroup and bounce back against a Dragons’ team that beat the Tigers’ 53-43 on Friday night. The Tigers beat Nacogdoches 58-32 at Tiger Gym three weeks ago.
“Obviously we want to regroup and better ourselves,” Newton said. “We get another chance and we’re thankful for that.”
Lindale 57, Corsicana 47
Lindale 10 8 21 18 — 57
Corsicana 3 16 9 19 — 47
Lindale — Mason Terry 18, Dakota Heinamin 2, Kelton Pierce 2, Austin Drawford 5, Court Brown 17, Brian Boaz 11, Jacob Capo 2.
Corsicana — Dzifa Mallet 13, Mike Lewis 6, Daniar Martin 7, Tedrick Wilson 5, Ernest McGhee 4, Alonzo Gipson 3, Jamaal Evans 2, Ralph Watts 7.
Records — Lindale 10-19, 1-9 in 16-4A; Corsicana 21-11, 3-7.