The Mineola Yellow Jackets dropped a non-district match-up against Kemp, 46–43, in an excellently competed basketball game last Tuesday. The game featured two evenly matched, well coached, and fundamentally sound teams.
Neither team could dominate the other, and although there were short stretches of offensive success at each end of the court, it was to be stingy, hustling defenses which dominated the night. It took over two and a half minutes before Mineola sophomore guard Jonah Fischer scored the first points of the night on a nice drive. He added a second moments later.
Kemp expected the Mineola back court pressure, and after an initial turnover, handled it well. Once in the front court Kemp struggled to get in an offensive flow but warmed up as the game progressed.
Mineola suffered from hesitation in shot selection throughout the night. Several lengthy possessions consisted of foregoing good makeable shots in lieu if passing the ball further. A bit of frustration was evident due to the inability to create clearly open shot opportunities.
The first quarter ended in a 10–10 tie. Each team had settled in and had recognized they were in for a real fight.
Kemp took a lead early in the second period with nice inside play. The visitors from Kaufman County were beginning to hit the boards. Fischer put Mineola back in the lead 15–14 on another nice drive through traffic.
Mineola scored their first points off the press with 3 minutes left in the half. A nice drive and dish from Fischer to Sophomore Trey Sneed put the Jackets up, but Kemp hit a three-pointer to take a 20–19 lead into intermission.
Kemp slowly began to build a lead as the second half ground on. To say that every ball was contested is an understatement. This basketball game was a wrestling match.
The three-point shooting of Kemp and their aggressive guard play came to be matched against Mineola’s mid-range shooting of wingers Sneed and Shaw Franklin. Franklin hit three beautiful soft fall-away jumpers from the lane in the second half.
Kemp was able to leverage their rebounding and built a 7 point advantage. A brief flourish of Mineola scoring closed the gap to 34–31 at the end of the 3rd quarter.
A couple of quick threes put Kemp up by seven early in the fourth. Franklin, Fischer, and George drew the home side closer. Assisted by some spotty Kemp shooting from the free throw line, Franklin scored to bring Mineola within a point, 44–43, with 27 seconds remaining.
Mineola failed to score in their next possession, and Kemp took the ball to the rim. Mineola put Kemp at the line where they went up by three. With 5 seconds to play, Franklin took the inbound pass and streaked down the right side. His tying shot attempt narrowly missed and bounded off the iron.