LOCAL SPORTS IN  BRIEF

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

KC’s Blalock misses cut

Former Kilgore College women’s basketball coach Evelyn Blalock, who not only founded and helped establish the college’s women’s basketball program but won national titles here, came up short in the voting for the Women’s College Basketball Hall of Fame.

It was announced last month that Blalock, who passed away just a few years ago, was one of 12 finalists for induction into the women’s basketball hall, located in Knoxville, Tenn.

There were, of course, 12 worthy finalists, and six were named as inductees: former WNBA superstar Sheryl  Swoopes arguably heads the class, which includes another former player, Kara Wolters, as well as coach Rick Insell, Louise O’Neal, former official Sally Bell, and Christine Grant.

Blalock is known for the Rangers’ dominant run in the mid 1980s to early 1990s, as the program collected three national titles under her helm, and hundreds of wins. In 18 seasons, she finished with 408 career wins, and just 166 losses. Blalock, from Hallsville, is already in the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the Kilgore College athletics hall of fame.


Lady Rangers win third straight; both KC teams home tonight vs. TJC

Since forfeiting two games after a fight with Trinity Valley (which TVCC also paid for with two forfeits), coach Anna Nimz apparently has her KC Lady Rangers focused.

The Lady Rangers edged Jacksonville College, 70-64, here at Masters Gymnasium last Saturday for their third straight win. KC now sits at 16-7 overall, and 7-6 in Region XIV Conference play, heating up at just the right time: KC’s ladies are in sixth place in the conference standings (the top eight women’s teams make the conference tournament in March), with six games left on the schedule.

One of those games: tonight at home at 5:30 p.m. against current second-place team Tyler Junior College. TJC is also heating up at just the right time, having won five straight.

The Rangers are also home tonight against TJC, a 7:30 p.m. start, and the Rangers have all but played their way out of tournament contention; they’re 12-11 overall, 3-10 in conference play, and have lost their last four. They were off last weekend.

In last Saturday’s win over Jacksonville College, the Lady Rangers got 20 points and eight rebounds from Lyrik Williams, a sophomore who also had two steals and blocked two shots. Jade Thurmon led KC with 21 points, and also had four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal.

Also for the Lady Rangers, Richelle Velez had nine points, five assists and two rebounds; Alicia Mardis had five points, five rebounds and a block; Da’Jah Thompson scored six and had a heaping 14 rebounds; Mariana Witt added four points; Courtney Parramore had three; and Danielle Meador had two.

Brianna Perry led JC with 18 points.

KC scored 22 points off of 25 Jacksonville turnovers.

Looking ahead, both KC teams play at Bossier Parish Community College on Saturday, starting with the ladies at 2 p.m. The men’s game will follow, around 4.


COLLEGE SOFTBALL

Rangers drop two;

at home this weekend

Last Saturday’s road trip to Waco for a doubleheader against McLennan didn’t go well for Kilgore College softball; the Rangers lost both games by the identical score of 3-2.

In the first game of the doubleheader, KC led late but lost when McLennan’s Ruby Trejo doubled in the bottom of the eighth. Jo Rivera had two singles and an RBI in the loss; Kaitlyn Stebelton had a triple; Manda Wilmoth and Hannah Carpenter each had a double (Carpenter had an RBI); and Laci Hambalek had a single. 

KC led the second game, as well, as late as the sixth inning, but couldn’t hang on. Shelby Edwards and Hambalek each had a double for the Rangers; Rivera had an RBI double; and Brianna Davis had a single.

Katy Worrell took the loss in the first game for the Rangers; Cheyanne Phillips took it in the second game.

KC is 6-8 on the season so far, and will host another mini-tournament this weekend at their new ballpark – The Ballpark at KC Commons (just off of Houston Street) – on Saturday and Sunday. KC opens the tournament against Independence College (Kan.) at 9 a.m. Saturday, and then faces Murray State at 3 p.m. On Sunday, the Rangers face Murray State again, this time at 1, and then Cisco at 3.


SOFTBALL

A busy first week for KHS

Kilgore High School’s softball team played its annual alumni game last Saturday at Stream-Flo Field, and that means the diamond season is upon us, for both KHS softball and baseball.

The Lady Bulldogs will once again be coached by Cheyenne Kirkpatrick, the former Cheyenne Savony, herself a former KHS standout. Kirkpatrick’s team missed the playoffs last year – it’s been a handful of years since Kilgore broke through to get to the postseason – but the Lady ‘Dogs have a good young lineup and hope to end the postseason drought this year.

Kilgore will officially open the season against West Sabine as a part of the Lufkin Hudson Lady Hornet tournament on Thursday at 12:30 p.m., at Kit Field. The Lady ‘Dogs will play again at 4 against Corrigan.

Friday, Kilgore’s JV varsity plays Mount Enterprise at noon, and Cushing at 3.

The varsity Lady ‘Dogs are back at it on Friday at 10:45 a.m., again at Kit Field, against Newton, and then at 4 against Alto. Also on Friday, Kilgore’s JV plays Huntington at 10:30, and Cleveland at 4.

Saturday is the tournament’s final day. Kilgore’s varsity will play New Waverly at 10:45, then Tarkington at 5:45. The KHS JV will play Woodville on Saturday at 3, then Wells at 6.

Kilgore will visit Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill next Tuesday, Feb. 21, for a 4:30 p.m. JV start, and plays in a tournament at White Oak next weekend.

Kilgore’s first home varsity game will be March 7 against Center.

Savony will be assisted this year once again by Bobby Berry, and by Whitney Compton, the former Whitney Brown, another KHS alumni.


BASEBALL

Diamond ‘Dogs set for weekend scrimmages

The Kilgore High School baseball teams – varsity, JV Red and JV White – are also into their preseason schedule. The Bulldogs will split up on Friday, with varsity hosting Pine Tree at Driller Park in a scrimmage at 5 p.m., and the JV Red scrimmaging at Pine Tree at the same time.

Kilgore’s varsity officially opens its 2017 season in the Rusk tournament on Feb. 23-25. The JV Red will play that weekend in a tournament at Carlisle.

Kilgore’s first games at home will be in the Oil Belt Classic tournament on March 2-4. Kilgore plays that Thursday, March 2, at 12:15 p.m. against Tyler Lee (Chapel Hill and Central Pollock open the tournament that morning at 10). The Bulldogs will play one more time that day, against Liberty-Eylau, at 4:45. Tournament games continue that evening.

On Friday, March 3, Kilgore plays just once, against Central Heights, at 7 p.m., and the Bulldogs will play Saturday, March 4, twice: against Hardin-Jefferson at 12:15, then against Garrison at 2:30.

See the Bulldogs’ complete schedule on the high school athletics page of the school's website, www.kisd.org.

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