Rangers, Lady Rangers begin championship pursuit

KC men off to 3-0 start; 1-1 ladies at home Thursday, led by new coach Lees

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Kilgore College’s football Rangers are still collecting wins – maybe even trophies – but the calendar says November, and that means KC sports fans get to add basketball to their must-see list.

Both KC teams – the men, led by coach Brian Hoberecht, and the Lady Rangers, led by first-year coach Addie Lees – have started the 2018-19 season, and in fact, the Lady Rangers are home tomorrow night.

KC will host Odessa College at 6 p.m. tomorrow here at Masters Gymnasium, after going 1-1 to start the season here last weekend. KC lost the season opener to Seminole State, 71-59, but bounced back for an 85-52 win over the Killeen Force. That’ll go down as the first career win at KC for coach Lees, who began her career here on July 1.

Lees, most recently a former Texas State University assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, was also head coach at Clarendon College and an assistant at Howard College, as well. She played high school at Plainview and was a college player at Midland College and Arkansas-Monticello.

Mike Simmons will be her assistant coach.

Sophomores for the Lady Rangers this year are Emely Rosario (Bronx, N.Y.), De’Jah Williford-Kelley (Columbia, S.C.), TaShawnna Riggs (Houston), Alex Strawhorn (Victoria Australia), Patience Idoko (Benue St. Nigeria), Alexis Popham (Cibolo), and Sarah Mgbeike (Houston).

Freshmen for KC will be Carah Burdette (Lexington, Kent.), Armani Harris (Houston), Ireneshia Johnson (Houston) and Alba Garcia Camarena (Barcelona, Spain).

KC was picked fifth in the Region XIV Conference’s coaches preseason poll. KC has been trending upward in recent years, finishing 21-11 the last two years. The Lady Rangers lost To San Jacinto in the championship of the conference tournament a year ago.

After tomorrow night’s home game, KC takes a week off, and then plays in the Coastal Bend Classic, starting next Thursday afternoon at 4 in Beeville against McLennan.

KC basketball fans are well-acquainted now with head men’s coach Hoberecht, who begins his 11th season here and has been nothing short of excellent. KC went 19-13 a year ago, but still managed to get to the conference tournament’s championship game, losing to Tyler.

The Oklahoma native is joined on the bench by assistants Matthew Wilson, Jake White and Colton Wager.

KC’s Rangers were picked to finish fifth overall in the coaches’ preseason poll.

Sophomores on the team this year are Malachi Davidson (Plano), Darrian Grays (Stockton, Calif.), Jordyn Owens (Montclair, N.J.), Jairus Stevens (Merrillville, Ind.), and Demiere Brown (Powder Springs, Ga.). Freshmen Rangers will be Eric Conner (Austin), Brendon Hoberecht (Carl Junction, Mo.), Kaleb Favors (Fort Worth), Michael Asante (Toronto, Canada), Assane Ndiaye (Dakar-Senegal), Kevin Buckley (Winter Park, Fla.), Tyron McMillan (New Orleans), Ademola Kolawole (Houston), Warren Richardson (League City), and Rodrigue Tha Andela (Cameroon).

The name of note, of course, on the list of KC freshmen is Brendon Hoberecht. That is the coach’s oldest son.

KC played over the weekend in the Tyler Classic, in Tyler, and beat Southwest Christian College, 89-74, and Brookhaven, 76-64. They also beat Lone Star College-Cy Fair here on Sunday, 90-45.

Against SW Christian, Brown had 21 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Stevens had 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Owens had 12 points and five assists. And Asante had 10 points. Tha Andela had five rebounds and three blocked shots.

Against Brookhaven, Brown again led with 19 points, and also had six rebounds and three steals. Stevens had 16 points and five rebounds. Grays had 10 points, three rebounds and two assists. Richardson scored six points, had four rebounds, three assists and four blocks. And Tha Andela scored 10, had seven rebounds and two blocks.

Tha Andela had a double-double against Cy Fair, hitting for 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had three blocks. Brown had 15 points, four rebounds and a steal. Owens had 16, six rebounds and two assists. Buckley also had 16 points. Conner threw in seven and three rebounds. Asante had eight points and eight rebounds, as well.

The Rangers play at Southern Arkansas University in Camden, Ark., on Friday at 7, and then are at Hill College on Tuesday, also at 7. They’re back at home next weekend for the KC Classic against Lone Star College-Tomball next Friday at 4, then against Cedar Valley here next Saturday, also at 4.

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