For the first time in four years, neither Kilgore College basketball team will play for a Region XIV Conference championship.
The Rangers were eliminated in a close game with top-seeded Navarro on the men’s side, 70-65, on Thursday, while the Lady Rangers’ nine-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of rival Tyler, 84-60, on Friday.
The tournaments are both being played at Centenary College in Shreveport, and the finals will be today: the women’s title game is set for 4 p.m., and the men’s for 7 p.m.
TJC 84, KC 60 (women): The first season at KC for Lady Rangers coach Addie Lees didn’t end with a title, but it was impressive, including a nine-game streak near the end of the season that saw them take down conference leaders Trinity Valley and Tyler.
But it was Tyler that had the mojo on Friday afternoon in the Gold Dome, a 27-point second quarter that blew the game open.
Tyler’s shooting, and KC’s, unfortunately, made the difference. Tyler’s Te’Aire Hambrick hit five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 23 points in the win. Her teammate, Felmas Koranga, added 15, and 14 rebounds.
For the Lady Rangers, it was a frustrating afternoon, including just eight points in the second quarter. Alexis Popham led KC with 12 points, and had five rebounds, an assist and a steal. Dejah Williford-Kelley had 11 points and 11 rebounds; Patience Idoko had 10 points and seven rebounds; season-leading scorer Emely Rosario had eight points; and Ireneshia Johnson had seven.
Rounding it out, Alex Strawhorn had six points, Ta Shawnna Riggs four, and Sarah Mgbeike, two.
The Lady Rangers finish with a 22-9 overall record, including a 12-1 record at home, and a 5-2 record on the road. They won one of three games against TJC.
KC 91, Panola 88 (women): The loss unfortunately overshadowed KC’s brilliant 91-88 overtime win over Panola in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
KC was down by 17 at the half, but rallied, tying things at 72 with 3 ½ minutes left on a pair of free throws by Mgbeike. The Rangers had a chance to win it, but Rosario’s shot was blocked, and the overtime period began.
KC led 90-88 in the extra session, and with 5 ½ seconds left, KC had the ball. Panola had to foul and hope KC would miss free throws. Idoko made one of two, though, for a 91-88 lead with four seconds remaining. Panola tried to inbound the ball, but turned it over out of bounds and the clock ran out.
Panola’s Maryia Adashchyk had an unbelievable game, scoring 50 points. But it was the Lady Rangers who won. Mgbeike led with 24 points and had 13 rebounds. Rosaro had 23 points and six rebounds. Ireneshia Johnson added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Popham had 11 points.
Navarro 70, KC 65 (men): The Rangers’ season ended six points short of the conference tournament’s number one seed, and KC gave Navarro all it wanted for 40 minutes of an intense Region XIV battle.
KC sophomore Demiere Brown, from Powder Springs, Ga., saved arguably his best on-court performance at the school for his last. Brown scored 30 points – far and away the game’s leading scorer – and had six rebounds, two steals and an in defeat.
Darrian Grays had 12 points and two assists for KC; Rodrigue Tha Andela scored eight points, blocked two shots, and had two rebounds; Jairus Stevens had seven points, three rebounds, a block and a steal; Assane Ndiaye had four points, five rebounds, an assist and a block; and Malachi Davidson and Michael Asante each had two points; Asante had six points and blocked three shots, and Davidson had two rebounds and an assist.
Navarro, who moved on to Friday night’s semifinal game (after the News Herald’s print deadline), got 17 points from Trey Pulliam, 15 from Xavier Davenport and 12 from Gavin Kensmil.
KC, who knocked Blinn and former coach Scott Schumacher out of the tournament in the first round, finished the season with a 19-11 record.