KC teams sweep, both to finals

Lady Rangers play San Jac for title today at 4; men face TJC at 7


It's been a long, long time since both Kilgore College teams had a run like this one. In fact, it might not have ever happened, and it definitely was not predicted.

Both Kilgore College basketball teams won their semifinal games in the Region XIV Conference tournaments, women's and men's, and both will play for conference titles Saturday at John Alexander Gymnasium in Jacksonville.

The Rangers knocked off top-seeded Trinity Valley on Thursday; the Lady Rangers got the biggest statement win in two decades over Trinity Valley on Friday afternoon; and then it was the Rangers' turn again, beating Blinn, 63-60, to seal the deal.

The win over Blinn was sweeter in one regard: Blinn is coached by former longtime KC head coach Scott Schumacher.

Wins in the conference title games would mean automatic bids to the NJCAA National Tournaments in Hutchinson, Kan., in a couple of weeks.

The women's conference title game begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, at John Alexander Gym -- that's on the former Lon Morris College campus. KC's Lady Rangers (21-10) will play San Jacinto College.

The men's title game will tip off at 7. KC (19-12) will face none other than old rival Tyler Junior College.

Both games will be broadcast on KDOK 105.3-FM, and online at kdokradio and tsrnsports.com, with Manny Almanza and Mark Fried on the call.

* KC 64, Trinity Valley 55 (women's semifinal): Back in the 1990s, KC coach Evelyn Blalock paced up and down the sidelines in her trademark heels, dressed to the T, but not afraid to shout a little bit.

Blalock was a general, a basketball general, and the KC hall-of-famer would likely be very proud of her program today.

The Lady Rangers have been competitive in the late 1990s, through the 2000s, but haven't been a regular factor in the Region XIV title picture.

Those days appear to be over.

KC beat conference power Trinity Valley on Friday afternoon, perhaps serving notice that the original conference women's power is taking back its crown.

It's the second straight year coach Anna Nimz's program will be in the conference title game, but this year, Trinity Valley won't be there. The Lady Rangers just swarmed them, and got their first win over TVCC since 2010.

The KC defense was outstanding, holding the Lady Cardinals to just eight points off the bench (KC had 19). And three-point shooting for TVCC was a nightmare. The Lady Cardinals hit just one three all night; they were 1-of-17.

Jade Thurmon, KC's leading scorer and one of the conference's top scorers, had 16 points, six assists and four rebounds. Teammate Patience Idoko had 13 points and seven rebounds; Alexus Moore had 11 points; Danielle Meador had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Alicia Mardis scored six points and had 10 rebounds.

* KC 63, Blinn 60 (men's semifinal): Here's where the improbable comes in.

The Rangers were as up and down this season as they've ever been, particularly under coach Brian Hoberecht, who's guided KC to several good seasons, including a national tournament back in 2013, and a 27-6 final record.

This year has been a wild ride, but the Rangers, finishing the regular season with a home loss to Trinity Valley, have been red hot in the tournament. They're 3-0 with wins over Bossier Parish, Trinity Valley and Blinn, and are suddenly the team nobody wants to play.

Against Blinn Friday night, KC got a basket from Davon Newton with 14 seconds left to go up by three, 61-28, and then Daytone Jennings hit a free throw, giving the Rangers a four-point lead with just about seven seconds to play.

Anthony Rice got a basket and drew a foul for Blinn, sending himself to the free throw line down 62-60. Thomas missed the free throw hoping to get a rebound and another shot off -- with about 1 1/2 seconds left -- to perhaps tie the game.

But KC got the rebound off the shot, and Demeire Brown was fouled. He hit the free throw, which would be the final score of the game.

Brown finished with 17 points. Daytone Jennings had 13, and nine rebounds. Chad Bowie had 12 points and five assists. Darrian Grays and Malachi Davidson each had six points. Lansana Nwosu and Samory Gueye each had two.

Markques Houston led the Bucs with 19 points.