Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Rusk had several outstanding individual performances against Palestine on Tuesday.
Unfortunately they did not add up to a win for the Eagles.
Palestine outlasted the Eagles 76-61 to capture the final playoff spot from District 19-3A.
The Wildcats, who will be making their first playoff appearance in nearly 10 years, will face Jasper in bi-district play early next week at at time and location to be announced.
Jadarian Skinner led Rusk (3-5 in District 19-3A) in scoring by popping in 19 points while Kody Stanley added 10 points to go along with a 13-board night.
Chaston Bennett also broke into double figures by dropping in 12 points.
Palestine (11-16, 4-4) led 16-8 after the first eight minutes, but an 8-2 Eagle run cut the Wildcats's edge to just two points.
Tony Butler, who led Palestine in scoring with 14 points, then answered the bell for the Wildcats by tossing in five-straight points to end Rusk's progression.
Butler put in nine of his points in the second stanza.
That seemed to be just the spark that the Wildcats were looking for, as Palestine led by 15 at halftime and by 19 after three quarters of play.
The Eagles got the Wildcat lead down to 14 points on multiple occasions in the final period, but could get no closer.