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Martin’s 26 sparks NC to 89-79 win over San Jacinto

Jamar Martin scored a game-high 26 points and made six steals to lead the Navarro Bulldogs to an 89-79 win Saturday over the San Jacinto Ravens in the Region XIV conference opener for both teams.

Martin hit 10-of-15 shots from the floor, including 6-of-7 attempts from three-point range as coach Michael Landers’ club (4-5) surprised the South Zone preseason favorites at the Wolens Special Events Center.

Navarro bombed away with success from the three-point line at a 60-percent rate with a 12-of-20 team performance, and coupled that with an impressive 23-of-27 free throws to nail down the key win.

For the Bulldogs, it was their fourth straight win over coach Scott R. Gernander’s Ravens and their sixth in the last seven meetings.

Saint Hilaire added 13 points from 5-of-9 shooting, three rebounds and two assists for NC, which led by as many as 14 points on two occasions.

Calvin Anderson also hit 13 with three boards and a steal in a starting role.

Keir Anderson sank 12 points, claimed three rebounds and dished out a team-high eight assists for Navarro.

The Ravens scored the games first six points and last led (20-19) with 12:22 left in the first half. Martin, Hilaire and the Andersons each swished pairs of three-point shots to enable NC’s takeover.

Navarro widened a 45-37 halftime lead to 14 (55-41), by the 15-minute mark.  SJC mounted a 16-3 run during a four-minute span and pulled within one (58-57).

After the Ravens closed within one, Martin delivered his first of four three-point shots during the second half that short-circuited San Jacinto’s momentum and kept the Ravens at bay.

Martin’s first three sparked NC to re-establish a nine-point edge, but again San Jacinto maneuvered back within two.  Martin again delivered a sledgehammer-blow with another three from the right, and the Ravens drifted behind.

San Jacinto’s lineup, featuring six transfers and 5 international players, was led by Jorden Duffey’s 21 points and Lisbon, Portugal sophomore Candido Sa’s 13.

Navarro’s win enables the Bulldogs to join Trinity Valley and Panola atop the Region XIV East standings, heading into Tuesday’s play.  The Bulldogs play unbeaten, South Zone-leading Jacksonville (7-0/2-0) at Curtis Carroll Fieldhouse.

First-year coach Aaron Smith’s Jaguars scored 100-plus points in the first six games of the season, and have yet to record fewer than 86. In two non-conference wins, the Jaguars scored 142 and 160 points.

See updated standings and schedules in another post on this webpage.

SAN JACINTO (79): Jorden Duffey 21, Candido Sa 13, Jon Mitchell 11, Jerrell Cooke 7, Ilker Er 7, Elton Dyer 6, Josh Huntley 6, Konstantin Kulikov 4, Donovan Grer 3, Jibreel Faulkner 1.  TOTALS: 17-8-(21-31)-79.

NAVARRO (89): Jamar Martin 26, Saint Hilaire 13, Calvin Anderson 13, Keir Anderson 12, Conrad Chambers 7, Jalen Jackson 7, Eric McCullom 6, Neek Mukoro 3, Tyler Whitehead 2.  TOTALS: 15-12-(23-27)-89.

NC Rebound Leaders: McCullom, Jackson, Martin 4 each
NC Assist Leaders: K. Anderson 8, Hilaire, Chambers, Mukoro 2 each
NC Steals Leaders: Martin 6
NC Blocks Leaders: Jackson 2