KC men in! Lady Rangers win fifth straight

Both squads trying to improve tourney positions with season finales at home today vs. TVCC


When the Region XIV Conference tournament is played next week, both Kilgore College teams will be in the mix. And the Lady Rangers might just be the hottest team in the conference, men or women.

The Lady Rangers got a buzzer-beating win here at Masters Gym Wednesday from Richelle Velez to knock off Angelina College, 71-70, their fifth straight win, and coach Brian Hoberecht and the Rangers got a huge win Wednesday night in Corsicana, topping Navarro 69-53.

That victory seals the Rangers’ trip back to the conference tournament, scheduled to begin in Jacksonville next Tuesday. Seeding will take place after the regular season ends today, and the Rangers will know exactly when – and exactly whom – they’ll play.

Today, there’s no mystery: both KC squads are home for their regular season finales against Trinity Valley. The women’s game begins at 2 p.m., the men to follow, around 4.

KC 71, Angelina 70 (women): Velez put up a shot that just left her hands before the buzzer sounded to knock off AC in front of a good crowd for the Lady Rangers’ annual cancer awareness game.

The game was close throughout, and it looked like a pretty sure loss for KC when Angelina went up by seven, 68-61, with 2 ½ minutes left.

But a three-point shot by Danielle Meador and another bucket by Jade Thurmon got KC within two, 68-66, with just over a minute left, and then Alicia Mardis tied the game with a minute left at 68.

AC went up 70-68 on a pair of free throws, and then Kilgore College missed a go-ahead shot on its next possession. But a scramble for the ball left it in the hands of KC’s Patience Idoko, who tossed the ball to Velez. Velez put up the shot and knocked down the game-winner, with .1 seconds left on the clock.

Thurmon again had 31 points, and also had eight rebounds and eight assists. Velez finished with 18 points, including hitting six three-point shots. Idoko had 13 rebounds.

Angelina was led by Natasha Mack, who had 22 points.

The Lady Rangers are third in the women’s standings, a 13-6 conference record (19-9 overall) and looking for a return trip to the conference’s title game – they lost there to Trinity Valley a year ago.

KC hasn’t defeated Trinity Valley since the 2009-10 season – to be specific, the last time the Lady Rangers beat the Lady Cardinals was January 2010, a 56-55 final.

Ironically, that’s who’s standing in the way today of KC heading into the conference tournament with a six-game winning streak. The Lady Cardinals, who have dominated this conference for many years, are back in a tie for the lead in the women’s standings after Jacksonville College lost at Tyler Junior College Wednesday night. They’re both 15-4.

Panola, a recent KC victim, is 14-4, and then KC at 13-6.

The women’s tournament will have the top eight teams, which right now would be TVCC, Jacksonville, Panola, KC, San Jacinto, Angelina, and either Blinn or TJC.

KC 69, Navarro 53 (men): Maybe a little of that momentum in the women’s locker room at KC is spreading.

The Rangers, who looked dead in the water just about 10 days ago, have now won three straight games. They’re now in the tournament for sure, and other than Trinity Valley (nine straight wins) and Jacksonville (six straight), KC is on the conference’s best run right now.

Something will give today, though, against Trinity Valley.

KC is 16-11 overall, 8-10 in conference play. The men’s tournament takes the top 12 teams (only two teams miss the tournament from a 14-team conference). It looks now like KC will be somewhere between ninth and 12th, while TVCC will probably be the top seed – the Cardinals are 17-1 in conference, and 26-3 overall. Their only loss – their last loss – came at Paris on Jan. 20.

The Cards are ranked fifth in the nation.

At Navarro on Wednesday night, KC got 15 from Malachi Davidson and 13 from Chad Bowie, who hit 11 of his 12 free throws attempted. Daytone Jennings had 10, and so did Demiere Brown.