Freshman guard Cris Boleware finished Navarro’s second-half comeback from 10-point deficits by hitting two baskets inside the final :13 as the Bulldogs handed high-scoring Temple its first loss of the season, 83-82.
Boleware, one of six Bulldogs in double-figure scoring, scored all 12 of his points during the final 20 minutes as coach Michael Landers’ Navarro squad (4-1) opened play Thursday in the 3rd Annual Lewis Orr Classic.
Navarro trailed 81-79 when Boleware slashed in from the left side and used glass for a game-tying layup with :12.4 to go. During Temple’s wild return trip downcourt, Toney Foster committed his fourth foul when he got tangled with Keyunta Watkins at :08.4. Watkins hit 1 of 2 for an 82-81 Leopard lead.
The Bulldogs inbounded and called timeout with :4.0 after crossing midcourt. An errant shot from the right side was tapped out front, and Boleware picked up the loose basketball and pitched in a 16-footer at the buzzer for the winner.
Both teams punched and counter-punched with nice runs punctuated by turnovers during the frantically paced, intense game.
Navarro hit 13 of its first 20 shots and built a 30-17 lead, but Temple (5-1) stormed back for a 46-41 halftime advantage. The Leopards took advantage of four NC turnovers at the outset of the second half and built their first of several double-figure lead (52-41). Navarro battled, only to drop back by 10 on several occasions.
Khory Ross led Navarro with 13 points. Boleware and Duan Wright each added 12. Toney Foster, DaShawn Robinson and Troy Jones each put in 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Navarro meets Hill (4-1) at 7 pm Friday in the final game of the two-day classic. The Bulldogs handed coach Swede Trenkle’s Rebels their only loss of the season with an 86-83 decision November 5 at The Bob Bullock Sports Center on the Hill campus in Hillsboro. Non-conference opponents Navarro and Hill pair up a third time during the Thanksgiving Holidays at the Angelina/Guy Davis Classic in Lufkin.