With Trinity Valley’s head coach, Gerald Ewing, resigning this week out of the blue, it looked like perhaps the Lady Cardinals – long a national championship contender but maybe reeling from the announcement – could be primed for an upset.

But facing Kilgore College here at Masters Gymnasium last Saturday, even with a good effort from the Lady Rangers, it just wasn’t to be.

The Lady Cardinals were on their heels in the first half, and trailed KC 34-31 at the halftime break, but turned it on in the second, and escaped with an 85-67 win in the daily grind that is the Region XIV Conference season.

On the road, meanwhile, coach Brian Hoberecht’s Rangers continued to lay waste to the men’s Region XIV scene, blasting Blinn, 88-53, and have won nine straight games. At 15-2 overall and 6-1 in conference play, KC has risen to second place in the RXIV standings, behind only 6-0 Tyler.

TVCC 85, KC 67 (women): It’s strange to say a 13-4 team is in seventh place, but that’s where KC’s ladies are right now. The Lady Rangers are indeed 13-4 overall, but they’re 2-3 in probably the most difficult junior college basketball conference – in both men’s and women’s divisions – in the U.S.

At 5-0 each, Tyler and Trinity Valley hold the top of the standings, at 5-0, and TVCC is 16-1 overall. Angelina, Paris, Jacksonville and Blinn are also all between KC and first place in the conference.

Coach Addie Lees’ Lady Rangers will regroup, and they’ll have to: they’re going to have four of their next five on the road, a very rare occurrence even in RXIV play. They visit Coastal Bend tonight in Beeville at 5:30 p.m., host Tyler this Saturday at 2, they go to Bossier Parish (Jan. 22), to Jacksonville College (Jan. 25) and to Angelina (Feb. 1) before coming home to face Blinn (Feb. 5).

Against TVCC, Ireneshia Johnson did what Ireneshia Johnson seemingly always does: she scored 23 points, had eight rebounds, and an assist, and was 5-of-9 from three-point range. The only other Lady Ranger in double figures, though, was Jada Hood, who finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Sarah Matthews was closest, with nine points. She had four rebounds and an assist, as well. Annillia Dawn had eight points, four rebounds and three assists. Kai Finister and Tara Kessner each had four points; Kessner had six rebounds and three assists. Alba Garcia Camarena and Ariel Wilson each hhad three points, and McKenze Brown had just two points, but five rebounds and two assists.

One large disparity in the game was this: KC got to the free throw line just six times – they were 4-of-6. Trinity Valley made it to the line a whopping 33 times, and finished 17-of-33.

Curtessia Dean of TVCC led all scorers with 27 points, and also had 10 rebounds. Asia Strong had 18 points and nine rebounds. TIya Douglas had 17 points, and Kaye Clark had 13, to go with seven rebounds. Taiyanna Jackson scored just two points, but had eight rebounds and blocked three shots.

Tonight’s KC opponent, Coastal Bend, is just 1-16 on the season and 0-5 in conference play.

KC 88, Blinn 53 (men): Blinn coach Scott Schumacher was the longtime coach here at Kilgore College, always dressed to the nines and coaching that way, Schumacher led the Rangers for about a dozen seasons before departing for a program in North Dakota, then returning to Texas as both Blinn’s head men’s basketball coach and athletic director.

Since then, he’s dealt KC a few losses – but not lately. KC has beaten Blinn in tournament play, and on Saturday, the Rangers dealt the Bucs a loss in their own house at Brenham. Incredibly, KC led the Bucs 45-19 at halftime.

The Rangers play at Trinity Valley in Athens tonight, a 7 p.m. tip-off, and then will host Panola College on Saturday at 4, and then visit Bossier Parish next Wednesday, again starting at 7.

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