MESQUITE — Two teams, separated by 20 miles, drove 30 miles to start the University Interscholastic League basketball playoffs on Monday night at a neutral site — North Mesquite High School.
The Lions from Ennis from District 14-5A were the home team (finished as No. 3 seed) and Kaufman from District 13-5A (finished as No. 2 seed) was designated as the visitor.
For much of the first half Kaufman controlled the pace of the game and outscored Ennis 30-23 at the half. Both teams valiantly fought to the finish, but Ennis finally ran out of gas after two extra rounds of 4-minute overtime sessions. Final score in this thriller was 75-69 in the favor of the Lions from Kaufman.
Ennis used the down time at the half to regroup and clawed their way back into the contest, and even held a 3 point lead at several times in the third and fourth quarters. Ennis had its big chance to win when it had the ball with 6.0 seconds to go in the final quarter of a tied-up game (54-54), but were unable to get off a good shot.
The first overtime period of 4 minutes was a back and forth affair with both teams having equal chances to take control. In a twist of irony, Kaufman had the ball at the end of the first overtime with an opportunity to win it, but could not get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.
Kaufman was finally able to put some distance between itself and Ennis in the second overtime, and pulled away by the final score of 75-69.
Kaufman was led by a pair of senior twins, Joseph and Jamar McCray. Joseph hit for 15 points and Jamar led all scorers with 33 points. Sophomore Daylon Dickerson contributed 18 points for the evening as well.
Ennis was paced by junior Laylon Spencer with 24 points, followed closely by sophomore Dee Johnson with 16 points and junior Jarveon Williams with 12.
Ennis finished the year at 6-18 overall, and Kaufman improves to 20-13 and moved on to face Nacogdoches in the area round.