It seems like almost every year, one of the two Kilgore College basketball teams plays in the best game of the Region XIV Conference tournament.
This year, it was KC’s Lady Rangers, but they didn’t get a happy ending.
Tyler Junior College rallied from trailing since the game’s earliest moments to take the game into overtime, and ultimately hit their free throws, overcame some good late shooting from KC, and outlasted the Lady Rangers, 77-76.
TJC moves on to face regular season conference women’s champion Trinity Valley on Friday at 1 p.m. in the semifinals. The Lady Rangers, unfortunately, finish their season with a 21-9 record. Both KC teams are out, after the Rangers were upset by Lee College in the first round late Tuesday night.
In the game against Tyler, with 44 seconds left, still tied at 61, KC’s Jada Hood drove the lane and gave the Lady Rangers the lead (63-61) with 28 seconds left.
TJC took a time out with 20 seconds left, and after an inbound by Kharisma Brown, Te’Aire Hambrick tied the game with nine seconds remaining, at 63-all.
After another time out, this one by KC coach Addie Lees, the Lady Rangers went to McKenze Brown, then to Annilia Dawn, but Dawn couldn’t get off a shot, and Tyler got the ball, but had no time to get one off, either, and regulation expired, sending the game to the extra session.
TJC trailed almost the entire game, including by 12 at the half. But the back-and-forth continued in overtime, with TJC scoring first, then Dawn tying it. Dawn really stepped up her game with Ireneshia Johnson fouling out late in the third quarter.
She gave KC the lead with just under four minutes left in OT. TJC took it right back and scored on back-to-back possessions, going up 69-67, with two minutes left.
Dawn was whistled for traveling with 1:27 left, still trailing by that same score. After a defensive stand, KC had a few shots at offensive rebounds, but Tara Kessner was called for a foul with a minute left.
Felmas Koranga of Kenya, who had no points and just one rebound in the first half for Tyler, had 21 in the second, including a couple of free throws after Kessner’s foul. That gave TJC a 71-67 lead.
Tyler led by three, 71-68, with 45 seconds left and the ball. Kharisma Brown fouled out on the possession. KC took a long three-pointer, missed, and no one touched it – it went out of bounds, Tyler ball.
Sara Matthews fouled TJC”s Nala Henningway, who hit both free throws to put Tyler up, 73-68.
With 21 seconds left, the Lady Rangers got a three from Brown with 17 seconds left. They fouled Hemingway, and she hit both.
With 13 seconds left, KC inbounded, and got another three-pointer, and it got the Lady Rangers within one, 75-74, with 4.9 seconds left. TJC’s Diamond Atchinson missed both, but got the ball right back when KC couldn’t control the rebound – it went out of bounds with 3.4 seconds left in the game.
KC had no time outs at this point.
Hambrick was fouled with 2.2 seconds left by Dawn, fouling out on that play. Hambrick hit both. KC fired away a shot, missed, and it was tapped in by Matthews. Briefly it appeared a foul had been called, but it wasn’t, and TJC sealed the win.
Koranga had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Hambrick had 11 points and nine rebounds. Frankazia Boyd had eight points.
KC went 3-of-18 from three-point range in the contest.
In addition to Dawn’s 23 points, Hood and Matthews each had 16, and Hood had four assists. Brown had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kessner didn’t score, but had 10 rebounds. Arielle Wilson also didn’t score, but blocked five shots.