The only thing better than opening the season with a win – to get off on the right foot – is finishing the season with a championship.
Coach Brian Hoberecht’s Kilgore College Rangers have accomplished the first step, and they’d love to complete that sentence.
The Rangers opened their 2017-18 basketball season Wednesday night at Masters Gymnasium here with a 69-58 win over Louisiana Christian. Darrian Grays led the Rangers with 12 points.
The Lady Rangers, coached by Anna Nimz, are opening their season today at Seminole State College in Seminole, Okla., at 2 p.m. They’ll be home this coming Tuesday afternoon, a 5:30 p.m. tip-off against Paul Quinn College.
KC’s men (1-0) are back in action this weekend at Tyler Junior College in the Chris Booker Classic. The Rangers were to play Southwest Christian College on Friday, and will face Brookhaven today at 2 p.m.
The next game after that is not until Sunday afternoon, Nov. 12, a 3 p.m. matinee against Lone Star College-Cy Fair.
Against Louisiana Christian Wednesday night, the Rangers shot 26-of-48 from the floor, just over 54 percent, and hit 11-of-17 free throws as a team.
Samory Gueye and Daytone Jennings each had 10 points. Chad Bowie chipped in nine. Tavion Atkinson had seven; Lansana Nwosu and Davon Newton each had six; Demiere Brown had five; and Malachi Davidson had four.
Nwosu had 11 rebounds. Jennings had six, and Newton, four. Bowie had five assists, and Gueye had two blocked shots. KC led, 41-21, at halftime.
Michael Smith and Jacques Clark each had 10 to pace Louisiana Christian.
Hoberecht is in his 10th season at KC, and led the Rangers to the NJCAA national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., back in 2012-13, and finished number 15th in the nation. The Rangers were ranked as high as second nationally in 2013-14.
Hoberecht is 322-203 in 18 overall seasons as a head coach, and 166-108 at KC. His Rangers teams have made the Region XIV Conference tournament in all but one of his nine previous seasons.
He’s assisted this year by Matthew Wilson, in his second year on the KC bench, and by Jake White, in his first.
Sophomores on the Rangers’ squad this year are Newton, Bowie, Gueye, Nwosu, and Jennings. The rest – Davidson, Atkinson, Darrian Grays, James Conteh, Marquese Walker, Brown, Kur Awol and Assane Ndiaye – are all freshmen.
Several foreign-born players are on the Rangers’ roster. Gueye is from Angers, France; Nwosu is from Toronto, Quebec Canada; Awol is from Melbourne, Australia; and Ndiaye is from Senegal. Two Texans are on the roster: Davidson is from Plano, and Bowie is from Missouri City.