Bulldogs’ balance, depth topples Panola, 95-86

By MIKE MONTFORT     —          Photos By Keith Speer

PAN4   —     Navarro’s balanced attack shot 51.6% from the floor, drained 11 three-pointers and hit 20-of-28 free throws in its 95-86 Region XIV men’s basketball victory Saturday over the Panola Ponies.

Coach Michael Landers’ Bulldogs (15-7/11-1) won their second straight league game and 13th in their last 15 games to remain in second place in the East Zone behind NJCAA top-ranked Trinity Valley.

Against Panola at the Wolens SEC, Navarro has seven consecutive wins, 8-of-9, and a 24-4 record all time.  Overall, NC’s won 14 straight games, dating back to 2008-09.

NC got a personal-high 13 points from freshman D’Angelo Hunter, plus 12 each from Conrad Chambers, Jamar Martin, Calvin Anderson and Saint Hilaire.

Hunter went 13/4/4 in hitting double figures for the second straight game.

Chambers, one of the league’s top free-throw shooters, sank 6-of-8 from the charity stripe and matched to single-game point high of 12 in a non-conference loss to Southwestern Christian in November at Terrell.

PAN10Martin hit double digits for the 20th time this season with a 5-of-9 shooting performance from the floor.

Hilaire’s 12/4/4 line included a team-best 3-of-5 shooting behind the three-point arc. It was his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season and first since the spring semester conference opener here against the Angelina Roadrunners.

Calvin Anderson’s dozen points included 10 during Navarro’s 53-point second half.  Anderson accounted for six points on consecutive trips at the start of the second half when Navarro began to extend a 42-35 lead.  Anderson nailed a three-pointer on one trip, and then converted an old-fashioned three-point play after a layup on the next venture.

More significant play came off the bench in the form of Nate Bethel, who produced nine points and a team-high eight rebounds.  Bethel became a huge resource during the first half when he cleared five defensive rebounds. The 6-4 freshman either did not play or failed to score in limited minutes during Navarro’s last 10 games.

PAN5Eric McCullom added nine points and five boards for NC, which led by as many as 17 points (71-54) with 8:49 to play.

First-year coach Grant McMillan’s Ponies, one of the great turnaround stories in NJCAA men’s basketball this year, dropped to 17-6 overall and 8-4 in league play.  The Ponies saw a three-game winning streak snapped here.

Cincinnati, Ohio, freshman Tyonte Robertson led four in double figures with 17 points — 11 of which came during the second half.  Brooklyn freshman Devyn Wilson scored 16 and Motlow State sophomore transfer Terry Holt pitched in 15.

Tennessee State University sophomore transfer Charles Tucker added 11.

The Ponies hit 45.5% from the floor (27/62) and 30.8% from three-point range (8/26).  Panola converted 24 of 35 free-throw opportunities in the game.

Panola seemed to enjoy success with its full-court pressure in the second half and forced the Bulldogs into 17 turnovers.  On several occasions, the pressure resulted in steals that were cashed into buckets, but the Ponies could draw no closer than during the final 7:51.

PANOLA (86): Tyonte Robertson 17, Devyn Wilson 16, Terry Holt 15, Charles Tucker 11, Jonathan Wiley 9, Chan Williams-Bey 9, James Suber 6, Tope Arikawe 3.  TOTALS:  19-8-(24-35)-86.

NAVARRO (95):  D’Angelo Hunter 13, Conrad Chambers 12, Jamar Martin 12, Calvin Anderson 12, Saint Hilaire 12, Nate Bethel 9, Eric McCullom 9, Keir Anderson 6, Cameron King 4, Neek Mukoro 3, MyQuan Gooding 2. TOTALS: 21-11-(20-28)-95.

HALFTIME: Navarro 42, Panola 35.
NC REBOUNDS: 35 (8/27).  Bethel 8, McCullom 5, Hunter 4, Hilaire 4, Martin 4, King 3, C Anderson 2, Jackson 2, K Anderson 2, Chambers 1.
NC ASSISTS: 14.  Hunter 4, Hilaire 4, K Anderson 2, Bethel 1, Martin 1, Chambers 1.

Scores from Saturday’s Region XIV games:

Navarro 95, Panola 86
Kilgore 66, Tyler 56z
Paris 86, Bossier Parish 77
Blinn 80, Lamar State-Port Arthur 75
Jacksonville 92, Lee 88
San Jacinto 81, Coastal Bend 70