They’re probably still talking in the hallways at Euless Trinity about Jhivvan Jackson’s step-back game-winner with one second left in the season opener against Wichita Falls Hirschi.
It sure was a way to ease into basketball season, wasn’t it?
“We’re guard loaded,” coach Mark Villines said after the win. “And we’re going to give them a little freedom at times. They’ve got to be at the top of their game, and the other guys have to fill their roles.”
Jackson used his artistic freedom to the tune of 31 points on seven 3-pointers in the opener, sometimes firing from four feet or more behind the arc, with no objection from his coach. Shooting guard Devin Newton added 13 in the win.
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During a timeout called with 14 seconds left against Hirschi, Villines went to one of his inbound plays, but Jackson spoke up with the score tied 59-59.
“I told him I wanted the ball,” Jackson said.
“And he created that shot,” Villines said. “He practices that elbow jumper more than anything.”
For two juniors to be assuming the primary leadership roles in Villines’ ninth year at Trinity is something not necessarily out of the ordinary, but it gives the squad clarity and clear marching orders, cutting loose the obligatory feeling-out period that consumes many teams’ first five games of the season.
But being guard loaded will come with its teaching moments, too. Trinity gave up 21 points and 14 rebounds to 6-4 Hirschi power forward Ezekiel Holmes. He routinely put back his own or his teammates’ misses for scores that were too easy for Villines to stomach.
“We’ve got to get better. Defensively, we were not good,” Villines said after the opener. “We gave up too many shots that, at our level, will not equate to W’s.”
After the game against Keller Fossil Ridge, the Trojans will take a break from action during the Thanksgiving break, and the team will be back in action starting December 3 in the San Angelo Classic tournament. Trinity will not have another home game until the New Year, in the second game of District 7-6A play. After opening the district slate at Colleyville Heritage on January 5, the Trojans will face Haltom at home on January 5.