The Eagles held a nine-point lead with 1:19 remaining, but poor free throw shooting down the stretch allowed Jackson to get back into the game.
NMCC shot a paltry 7-of-16 from the charity stripe in the final quarter, and it was just good enough for the Eagles to hold on for the four-point win.
"This game was really important," said NMCC head coach David Fields. "This was the biggest home crowd our kids have played in front of, and I think it may have gotten to us there late. We can't shoot seven out of 16 free throws in the final quarter and expect to win. We were lucky, that's all I can say."
Both NMCC and Jackson are known for being physical teams, and neither diminished its reputation on Friday night. Jackson jumped out to a 10-8 advantage and increased its lead to 26-22 by halftime. The Eagles regrouped at the break and took control of the game in the third quarter.
They led the rest of the way, improving to 8-13 on the season.
"Any time you play Jackson, you know it's going to be physical," said Fields. "We haven't been out-physicaled this year, but they sure matched us man for man."
The Eagles' biggest lead of the game came with 1:19 left after a Malcolm Long free throw made it 52-43. Jackson's Jack Puisis responded with a conventional 3-point play to shave the lead down to seven.
Jackson then sent NMCC to the free throw line six times in the final minute, and the Eagles sank just two, leaving the door open for the Indians.
Jackson scored on a putback by Jeff Beck and a layup by Jason Schafer to cut the lead to four points, but ran out of time. "In the second half, their athletisicm and strength took over a little bit," said Jackson head coach Mike Kiehne. "They're obviously not as talented as the previous New Madrid team, but they're a team that is going to be able to make some noise in a district and give some teams some problems. They're young, and in the future, they're going to be very, very tough."
Edgar Givens had a big night for NMCC, scoring 18 points with seven rebounds. Vaughn Shepherd pulled down nine boards. Jordan Kimball nailed two 3-pointers and scored 10 overall. Kimble hit one trey and finished with 12 in the win.
For Jackson, Tyler McNeely led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds. Beck scored 10 and Puisis added nine.
"I thought that was the toughest performance we've given all year," said Kiehne. "We got on the floor and got loose balls. We got after them defensively, and banged on the boards as well as we could with them. I was very proud of the kids. They did a great job."
Jackson (10-15) will travel to Kelly on Tuesday night while NMCC plays host to Sikeston.
"We've had some adversity, but our kids have hung with it through thick and thin," said Fields. "I think we are where we need to be going into the district. I'm looking forward to it."
NEW MADRID -- Delta's girls basketball team defeated New Madrid County Central on Friday night, 63-41.
Rebecca Below led the way with 24 points, followed by Sara M. Cook with 15 and Rebecca Cook with 12.
For NMCC, Shanika McFarland scored 14.
"I was pleased with the effort tonight," said NMCC head coach Matt Ginther. "That was the best first half of basketball we have played this season. These girls are working hard and improving."