Eric McCollum scored a game-high 18 points, including six of the Bulldogs’ last eight inside the final 1:51 as Navarro emerged with a 57-51 Region XIV conference win Saturday over the Kilgore Rangers.
With the crucial win, coach Michael Landers’ Bulldogs (11-11/4-8) snapped a five-game losing streak and climbed into sole possession of fifth place in the East Zone race — ahead of KC and Bossier Parish, the team they must face Wednesday.
Randall Broddie, who assisted on McCollum’s bucket at 0:53, buried the dagger in the Rangers with a steal and jam at 0:07.8 that gave the Dawgs their full two-possession lead. Broddie finished the game with eight points.
Navarro bounced out to a 26-14 lead, but Kilgore responded with an unanswered run of 17 points during the first half’s final four minutes and assumed a five-point advantage at the break (31-26). The scoring run continued into the second half and morphed into a 23-4 blitz that put the Rangers ahead 37-30 with 13:49 to play.
D’Angelo Hunter’s three-pointer at 12:49, Fritz Lucien’s shot inside at 12:04, and Emmanuel Egbuta’s reverse layup at 11:33 quickly thrust Navarro into the game’s fourth tie (37-37).
The teams swapped leads until Broddie dropped another three-ball at 5:04 to produce a three-point Navarro lead (48-45). By the 3:43 mark, Kilgore pulled even for a sixth time (48-48) on Jamar Sandifer’s short jumper.
NC regained a 49-48 lead when Javier roper sank the back end of a two-shot foul at 3:26. McCollum extended the lead to 51-48 with a pair of free-throw conversions at 1:51. Eleven seconds later, Kilgore’s Ndene Gueye converted free throws that pulled the Rangers within one at 1:40. KC appeared to make a defensive stop with 1:00 left, but officials whistled KC for a backcourt player-control foul.
NC capitalized on the turnover as McCollum took Broddie’s bullet feed to the hole at 0:53. At 0:30.3, McCollum worked down on the blocks for another bucket.
Coach Brian Hoberecht’s Rangers (12-10/3-9) lost their third straight and seventh in their last nine outings. The Rangers played Saturday without season-leading scorer Tre Evans, who averages 15.5 per contest and shoots 83 percent from the foul line.
In other games Saturday, Angelina upset unbeaten No. 2 ranked San Jacinto 94-88 at Pasadena and ended the Ravens’ 22-game winning streak. Trinity Valley leapfrogged Tyler in the East Zone standings by recording a 79-70 win over the Apaches at Athens. Elsewhere, Panola defeated Bossier Parish, 95-85, in overtime; Blinn bumped off Jacksonville, 92-75; and Lamar State-Port Arthur topped Coastal Bend, 86-75.