Bulldogs’ defense crushes Kilgore, 69-59

Harrison Hawkins (11) drives past a Kilgore defender in 69-59 win over the Rangers.

Harrison Hawkins (11) drives past a Kilgore defender in 69-59 win over the Rangers.

The Region XIV East battle Wednesday between Kilgore and Navarro featured 63 total fouls, 84 attempted free throws — and one undeniably outstanding defensive effort by coach Johnny Estelle’s Bulldogs.

Unranked Navarro (18-4, 10-1) claimed its eighth straight win and 15th in its last 16 games, 69-59, and opened up a two-game lead in the East Zone over Tyler — a team the Bulldogs play Saturday at TJC’s Wagstaff Gymnasium.

Underscoring Navarro’s victory was a defensive effort that allowed only three baskets and 19 total points during the first 20 minutes of play at the Wolens Special Events Center.  For the game, Kilgore managed only 13 baskets — and two of them were Quinton Upshur three-pointers.  For the bulk of their 59 points, coach Brian Hoberecht’s Rangers (18-4, 8-4) converted 31 of their 50 free-throw attempts.  Navarro’s effort shut down the 18th-ranked Rangers — about 20 points below their season scoring average.

Sophomore guard Harrison Hawkins scored a team-high 16 points to pace the Bulldogs’ victory.  Freshman Toney Foster added 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and five deflections as Navarro opened up as much as a 19-point lead over KC.  Jonathan Benn came off the bench with four points, five rebounds and five assists.

Navarro led 36-19 at halftime, and was able to keep Kilgore at bay with acrobatic dunks from Foster and Duan Wright, plus two three-pointers from Hawkins.  NC led 62-43 with 5:12 remaining.

Kilgore got 17 points from guard Lonnie McClanahan  and 13 from Maurice Taylor.

Kilgore           19     40  — 59

Navarro         36     33  — 69

KILGORE: Lonnie McClanahan 17, Maurice Taylor 13, Quinton Upshur 9, Chinedu Amajoyi 9, Nardi Bogues 4, Matthieu Gamberoni 3, Kalif Wright 2, Eric Diouf 2.

NAVARRO: Harrison Hawkins 16, Toney Foster 10, Jamar Goodwin 9, David Woodard 8,LaMark Barnes 6, Terrance Syon 5, Jonathan Benn 4, Princeton Onwas 3, Duan Wright 3, Shannon Lilly 3, Justin Phillipe 2.