Having two teams in the men's and women's finals of the Region XIV Conference basketball tournaments brought a rejuvenated spirit to Kilgore College sports that the institution hasn't experienced in years, at least since the Rangers made the national tournament in 2013.
Sadly, though, in came to an end for both on Saturday night.
The KC Lady Rangers, in the tournament final at John Alexander Gymnasium for a second straight year, slipped to San Jacinto, and in the men's title game, Tyler Junior College held off the Rangers. The Lady Rangers were seeded third and had been expected to do well, and they did. The KC men were seeded ninth and far exceeded expectations, beating Bossier Parish in the first round, knocking off top-seeded Trinity Valley in round two, and defeating former coach Scott Schumacher and Blinn in the semis.
• San Jac 66, KC 58 (women): Eryka Sydney scored 23 points and had four assists for the Lady Gators, in what will be their last appearance in this tournament; the college is discontinuing its basketball programs after this season.
Jade Thurman continued her magnificent run for KC, finishing with 37 points, seven rebounds and three assists. But San Jac held KC's other players all under double figures in scoring. Patience Idoko had the highest total after Thurman, and she had six points.
• TJC 59, KC 56 (men): Chad Bowie led the Rangers (19-13) with 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Like the Lady Rangers, no other KC player hit double figures. Davon Newton had eight.
Brian Warren of Tyler led all scorers with 20.