By MIKE PHILLIPS / Corsicana Sun —
If there were any questions about Trinity Valley’s No. 1-ranked Cardinals being for real they were answered Saturday at the Wolens SEC, where they beat Navarro 94-79.
They’re real, and they’re spectacular.
Still, Navarro played the top-ranked team in the nation close, going head-to-head with TVCC for most of the game. They swapped leads early and often and went to halftime tied at 34.
The Dawgs even had some leads early in the second half, but the Cardinals (21-1) kept a 16-game winning streak alive and snapped Navarro’s eight-game winning streak with a lightning-quick, crash-the-boards offense down the stretch to run away from a Navarro team that hadn’t lost a game in 2016.
“They’re really a good team,’’ Navarro Coach Michael Landers said. “And we made too many mistakes. You can’t make those kinds of mistakes against a real good team like that.
“We’ve got to work and correct those mistakes. We’ve got nine games left. We would have had nine games left whether we won this game or not.’’
The Dawgs were red-hot coming into the showdown and were 9-0 in Region XIV, tied with unbeaten TVCC for the top spot in the Region XIV East.
The showdown was as good as advertised early, but Trinity Valley just had too much fire power for the Dawgs and eased away to a 15-point win.
“That’s a good team,’’ TVCC Coach Kris Baumann said. “We beat a very good basketball team today. They gave us fits in the first half. They kept changing defenses.
“We changed some things at halftime and I thought our two inside guys from Houston (Leon Gilmore and JC Washington) played really well in the second half. We were out-rebounded in our last game at home against Tyler and I kind of challenged those guys and they both did a good job on the boards.’’
TVCC had a big edge in rebounding the second half and almost all of the Cardinals’ 60 second-half points came either in the paint or from the free throw line as they scored inside and scored on fast-break baskets that were ignited by Hyron Edwards, who raced up and down the court and finished with 21 points.
TVCC made only three 3s in the second half and all came from Josh Robinson, who made all three of them in the first eight minutes of the second half when the game was still a back-and-forth battle.
Navarro was trailing 59-57 with about nine minutes left when TVCC went on an 18-10 run that was fueled by Washington, who had a personal six-point run by himself and scored eight of the 18 points to help lift TVCC to 77-67 lead with 3:02 left.
Washington finished with 15 points and TVCC’s Leon Gilmore scored 11 inside points.
Defensively, TVCC did a remarkable job crashing on Navarro’s two top scorers, Keir Anderson and Jamar Martin, who have led the Dawgs all season.
“That’s hard to do, to try to stop those two,’’ Baumann said. “They are like a two-headed monster and can really hurt you.’’
TVCC didn’t stop the pair, but slowed them down enough.
Anderson finished with five 3s, including four in the second half and scored a team-high 16 points, and Martin scored nine points. Calvin Anderson scored 12 for the Dawgs.
Keir Anderson’s last 3-pointer came with 1:42 left in the game and closed the gap to 83-73, but TVCC went on a torrid 11-2 run to take a 94-75 lead before Calvin Anderson’s four-point play to finish scoring at 94-79.
“They created some problems with their zone,’’ Landers said. “They really hurt us with transition defense. They really hurt us on the glass. You have to play better than that. We gave up 60 points in the second half.’’
Navarro is now 9-1 in the conference and 13-7 for the season, and will play TVCC again in Athens on Feb. 17.
The two teams might meet in the region tournament at the end of the regular season with a trip to nationals on the line.
“There were some positives,’’ Landers said. “We competed with them for a long time. I think there are some things we can correct, some things we can improve on.”
NOTES: The Bulldogs regroup and respond Wednesday in a 7 pm Region XIV match at The Hunt Center in Paris against the Dragons….Navarro’s next home game will be at 4 pm Saturday against the Panola Ponies….Martin had his streak of consecutive double-figure scoring games stopped at 17….Conrad Chambers matched an individual season-high 10 assists Saturday….11 players contributed scoring….Kaelin Love came off the bench to provide three blocked shots….Navarro shot 46.8% from the floor (29-62), 33% from three-point range (8-24), and 72.2% from the foul line (13-18)….The Bulldogs continue to lead their series with TVCC during the Wolens Era (since the 1986-87 season), 30-29….TVCC’s won three straight against Navarro, but the Bulldogs had won the five previous and 10 of 12….
TVCC (94): Hyron Edwards 21, JC Washington 15, Josh Robinson 15, Leon Gilmore 11, Brandon Holley 10, Stephen Edwards 9, Josh Stamps 8, Shamiek Sheppard 5. TOTALS: 27-6-(22-31)-94.
NAVARRO (79): Keir Anderson 16, Calvin Anderson 12, Jamar Martin 9, Conrad Chambers 8, D’Angelo Hunter 8, Eric McCullom 6, Cameron King 6, Tyler Whtehead 4, Kaelin Love 4, Saint Hilaire 4, Jalen Jackson 2. TOTALS: 21-8-(13-18)-79.
HALFTIME: Navarro 34, TVCC 34.
Photos By Keith Speer / Keith’s Sports Photos / Facebook
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