H-P Sports Editor

The Palestine Wildcats did not open up district the way they would have hoped.

The Wildcats lost to Madisonville Friday night 59-77 at Wildcat Gymnasium in the District 19-3A opener.

Madisonville (1-0, 18-2) led for most of the game as the Wildcats’ (0-1, 10-7) only had one lead, which was 6-5, in the early moments of the game.

Despite the loss, Larry Jackson, who struggled through leg cramps for most of the second half, scored more than half Palestine’s points. Jackson finished with 30 points and has scored 30 or more points in three of Palestine’s last five games.

Palestine’s Jeffrey Strain also finished in double digits with 12 points.

The Wildcats struggled with their outside shot as Madisonville primarily played a zone defense.

Palestine made only two three pointers — both by C.A. Mims — while Madisonville hit five from behind the arc.

Madisonville used a 7-0 run early in the second quarter to take a 29-19 lead.

The Mustangs stretched the lead to 13 points but Palestine started to chip into the lead when Madisonville’s two tallest players Chris Whaley and Chris Young both went to the bench.

Palestine went on a 13-2 run as Jackson made six straight free throws. Jackson was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Jackson followed with a putback and Strain had a steal and a layup to cut the lead to 36-33 with 52 seconds left.

Palestine got within one point with a pair of free throws by Jeremy White but at the buzzer, Whaley hit a three pointer to give the Mustangs a 39-35 lead.

Madisonville started the second half scoring the first six points to lead by 10. The Mustangs kept its lead at least seven points going into the fourth quarter. Madisonville then outscored Palestine 13-4 to put the game away.

Notes: Palestine travels to Mexia Friday night. Tickets for the game must be bought in advance at the Palestine High School athletic office. Tickets may be purchased from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Adult tickets are $3 and student tickets are $2.

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