KIRBYVILLE — The Diboll Lumberjacks were having a tough time trying to put away a stubborn Orangefield team.
Each time the ’Jacks would build a small cushion — five to seven points — the Bobcats would answer, and usually with a 3-pointer.
Not until the Diboll defense flexed its muscle late in the second half were the Lumberjacks able to pull away for a 69-51 win in bi-district action Tuesday in Kirbyville.
With Diboll leading 47-42 with a little more than two minutes to play in the third quarter, Jorrin Thompson helped spark a run with a steal and a bucket, and the Lumberjacks scored six straight points off Orangefield turnovers to close out the period. In the fourth quarter, Thompson swiped three steals — and scored on each one — in a four-minute span, and the Bobcats never got to within double digits the rest of the way.
“Our defensive intensity finally cranked up,” Diboll head coach James Davis said. “I preach to them all the time about defensive tempo, and how when we turn it up and create turnovers, we make people uncomfortable, and that’s when we make our runs.
“Jorrin is a tough, tough defender with his length and quickness. He had some key steals late and was big for us on that run.”
The ‘Jacks held the muscle advantage down low with Daris McMillan and Herbert Gums manning the paint, but the Bobcats were able to shoot over the interior defense for much of the game. Orangefield finished the game with seven made 3-pointers, with Coy Bryant dropping four of those. McMillan bulled his way to a team-high 15 points. Javaughn Luster and Thompson each finished with 12 points to lead the Lumberjacks.
Bryce Bergeron led Orangefield with 18 points. Bryant added 13 and Payton Wrinkle 10 points in the loss.
Diboll will face either Hitchcock or Trinity in the area round. Game day, time and location will be announced this week.