A season of ups and downs, mainly downs in Region XIV Conference play, for the Kilgore College Rangers could very well end up with one of the best finishes in program history.
And the Lady Rangers are rolling, too, hoping for their first national title birth since spring, 1993.
The Rangers pulled off the shocker of the RXIV men’s tournament on Thursday afternoon, stunning top-seeded Trinity Valley, 81-73, to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
Those semifinals were to be played Friday night at 6 p.m., against second seed Blinn, following the deadline for this print issue of the News Herald. That’s a drag, but see kilgorenewsherald.com right now for an update.
The KC-Blinn loser, of course, is out – the winner advances to Saturday’s conference championship game. The tournament is being played at John Alexander Gymnasium, the former home of Lon Morris College. The women’s title game is set to begin at 4 p.m. this afternoon; the men’s game at 7.
And KC could have a women’s title game participant, too. At press time, KC’s Lady Rangers were still to play a semifinal game against none other than Trinity Valley. The KC-TVCC winner advances to today’s championship game.
Again, see kilgorenewsherald.com now for updates on both KC teams.
KC 81, TVCC 73 (men): Playing in the quarterfinals, KC, who struggled in conference play most of the season, knocked off the Cardinals, and the Rangers are two wins away from winning a conference title and moving on to the NJCAA men’s national tournament.
Trinity Valley (27-4) came into the game on a 10-game winning streak, with KC the most recent victim. But the Cardinals couldn’t answer the bell late in the game against the Rangers, and KC moves on.
Coach Brian Hoberecht’s KC squad (18-12 overall) got a masterful performance once again from sophomore Chad Bowie to beat Trinity Valley -- Bowie had 21 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
Also for KC, Demeire Brown was superb: 20 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Right behind was Darrian Grays, putting in 19 points, maybe his best game of the season.
Davon Newton had five points, four rebounds and three assists; Daytone Jennings and Lansana Nwosu each had four points; Malachi Davidson and Samory Gueye each had three; and James Conteh had two.
KC held the Cardinals to just 20 rebounds in the game. Damarri Parris did score 25 for TVCC, who awaits a bid in the national tournament without a conference title to show.
KC 71, Blinn 63 (women): The first-round game for coach Anna Nimz’s Lady Rangers wasn’t a runaway, but the Lady Rangers did play well: they shot 14-of-18 from the free throw line, hit about 40 percent of their shots in the game, and never trailed.
Jade Thurmon led KC with 24 points. She also had eight rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and two steals. Richelle Velez had 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
Also, Patience Idoko had nine points; Alexus Moore had eight; Danielle Meador had six; and Tyra Cormier and Alicia Mardis each had four. Cormier also had five rebounds and two blocked shots; Mardis had four rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Jade Rochelle led Blinn with 15 points, and Missy Archie had 14.
The Lady Rangers are 20-10 this season, headed into Friday’s game with TVCC. It’s actually a rematch from last year’s women’s conference championship game.
The Lady Rangers haven’t beaten Trinity Valley since the 2010 season.
If the KC teams make the championship games, and you can’t go, listen to Manny Almanza broadcast on KDOK 105.3-FM, or online at kdokradio.com or tsrnsports.com, the Texas Sports Radio Network.
Tickets for tonight’s championship games are $6 each for adults, $3 for students with an ID and children over five years old, and free for kids under five.