For the first time in a while – at least, this season – the Tyler Junior College Apaches have been reminded that the Region XIV Conference isn’t a cakewalk.
Kilgore College’s Rangers secured not only the biggest win of their season on Saturday, but maybe the biggest since coach Brian Hoberecht led KC to a national tournament berth a few years ago.
Twentieth-ranked KC upset No. 4 Tyler Junior College, 95-92, in overtime Saturday evening here at Masters Gymnasium, dealing the previously-unbeaten Apaches their first loss of the 2019-20 season.
KC’s statement win doesn’t knock the Apaches from the top of the Region XIV Conference standings, but it does humanize them – and maybe gives the Rangers a lift that can fuel them the rest of the season and into the conference tournament.
Just before the Rangers’ big upset, coach Addie Lees’ Lady Rangers also won, beating visiting Jacksonville College, 83-62.
The Lady Rangers are off until Saturday, when they’ll resume conference play the way it began: with Angelina College, although this time, the game will be in Lufkin, at 2 p.m.
The Rangers go to Corsicana tonight for a 7 p.m. tip-off against Navarro, and then host Paris Junior College on Saturday at 4.
KC 95, TJC 92 (OT; men): The Rangers – now 8-3 in conference play – haven’t lost in front of their home crowd all year. They’re 12-0 at Masters. But this was a close one.
The Rangers had to come back from almost 18 points down to defend their home court.
KC didn’t lead until the 18-minute mark. Tyler tied the game late, with just under a minute remaining, on a bucket by Shahada Wells, and the Apaches had two possessions to win it, but couldn’t break the 84-all tie.
The lead bounced back and forth until Tyron McMIllian hit two free throws with 20 seconds left. That gave KC a 93-92 lead, and Montrell Horsey hit two more with eight seconds left for the eventual final score.
TJC did have a last gasp, but Wells missed one free throw, missed another intentionally to try and give his team the rebound, and after all else had failed, TJC had one last shot, but Kieffer Punter missed a three-pointer at the final buzzer that would’ve tied it, but missed.
Rodrigue Andela, the native of Cameroon who just about averages a double-double for KC, didn’t get that this time, but he did have a masterful (pun intended) performance: 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, eight rebounds, a blocked shot and played 31 minutes.
Teammate Michael Thomas had 18 points, with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. McMillian finished with 15, with nine rebounds (seven on offense), two steals, two assists, and two blocked shots.
Rounding it out, D’Rell Roberts had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists; Justin Davis had six points, two rebounds and two assists; Cameron Gooden had six points and two rebounds, along with four assists; Stephan Morris and Horsey each had four points – Horsey had four assists; and Assane Ndiaye had three points.
KC shot 54 percent from the floor and only had 14 turnovers.
The loss overshadowed a brilliant performance by Wells, who finished with 41 points.
The Rangers are now 17-4 on the season to go with that 8-3 conference record, and are second to Tyler in the conference’s East Zone standings, a half-game in front of Panola.
KC 83, Jacksonville 62 (women): Jada Hood took off for 23 points and Sarah Matthews had 20 in this rout of Jacksonville.
KC hit 34 free throws in the game, on 30 Jacksonville fouls. Hood had seven rebounds, an assist and two steals, and Matthews had four rebounds and a steal.
The rest of the cast stepped up. Annillia Dawn had 14 points, three rebounds, five steals and four assists; Alba Garcia Camarena had 11 points, 13 rebounds (nine offensive), and two assists; McKenze Brown had six points and six rebounds; Tara Kessner had five points, 11 rebounds, three assists and maybe most impressive, blocked seven shots.
Kai FInister added four points for the Lady Rangers (16-5 overall, 5-4 in conference play).KC is still in fifth place in the conference standings, but just a game behind fourth-place Panola.