By PHIL HICKS ETFinalScore and MIKE MONTFORT —
CORSICANA – With three players on the bench after fouling out, Tyler Junior College guard Desmond Balentine knew the Apaches could ill afford to go to a fourth extra period.
The freshman from Kokomo, Indiana swished two free throws with 19.4 seconds showing and the Apaches thwarted another Navarro attempt to extend the game as No. 15 TJC scored an 86-84 triple overtime win over the Bulldogs on Saturday at the Wolens Special Events Center.
Balentine said he tried to block everything out — including the rowdy Bulldog band — as he went to the free throw line with Tyler trailing 84-83.
“The first one is always the toughest,” said Balentine, who is an 86 percent free throw shooter. “After making the first one I said to myself relax, make the second one and get back on defense.”
He did just as the Apaches had an 85-84 lead.
Navarro set up for a winner-take-all shot, but Tajuan Agee, Eden Ewing and TiAndre Jackson played stellar defense as Saint Hilaire tried to drive the left baseline.
The sophomore guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., could not connect over Agee’s out-stretched hands and Jackson came up with the rebound with 0.1 seconds showing.
Jackson was fouled by Hilaire and connected on the second free throw for the final score of 86-84.
Navarro could not get off a shot and TJC celebrated. The Apaches, winners of 5 of their last 7 games, secured a second overtime win in three played during conference play.
“I thought we had a carry-over from Wednesday’s loss (82-78 in OT to Panola) in the first half,” said TJC coach Mike Marquis, whose club improves to 22-4 on the season and 14-4 in Region XIV Conference. “I could sense it in practice (Friday). … In the first half, we looked as if we didn’t have much in the tank.
“… In the second half, we got down by 13, but we started playing better. It was then 58-51 and then suddenly you look up and it was 58-58.”
Marquis was proud his team never quit and he complimented Navarro coach Michael Landers for having his team prepared and making adjustments from Tyler’s previous 20-point win over the Bulldogs.
“Dez and Trent (Sandifer) were huge for us off the bench with three of our guys fouling out,” Marquis said.
Freshman guard Brian Warren was also big for the Apaches.
After going scoreless in the first half and hearing his name chanted by the Navarro band, Warren, who sports the James Harden-like beard, scored 21 points in the second half to silence the percussion section, along with the woodwinds, brass and strings.
Jaqwan McCauley (15 points), Kwinton Hinson (13 points) and Trenton Sandifer (4) were the Apaches who fouled out — all during the second overtime.
Navarro had one player foul out — reserve Cameron King, who was one of three Bulldogs saddled with four fouls by the 15-minute mark of the second half of regulation. Emmanuel Egbuta and leading rebounder Eric McCollum also had four fouls by that juncture and somehow managed to survive to the finish.
D’Angelo Hunter led the Bulldogs (11-16, 4-13) with 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting and Randall Broddie added 24 on 9-of-18 shooting.
Ewing led TJC with 11 rebounds with Cooper adding 10 rebounds and three blocks.
McCollum paced Navarro with 12 boards and recorded his fifth double-double of the season for NC. McCollum’s last double-double (14/12) occurred February 1 when the Bulldogs played the Apaches at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
TJC trailed 57-44 with 9:12 on the clock in the second. The Apaches followed with a 14-1 run to knot the game at 58-58 when Warren drained a 3-pointer 3:12 showing.
Tyler actually took the lead 64-61 when Balentine drilled a 3-pointer with 1:57 on the clock.
Navarro tied the game at 64-64 when Fritz Lucien connected on two free throws with 21.6 showing.
TJC worked the clock down and Balentine got an open look that missed, but Sandifer rebounded and his putback was just short.
Warren forced the second overtime when his 3-pointer tied the game at 71-71 with 26.2 seconds showing.
It appeared the Apaches had the game when Ewing’s tip found the bottom of the net for a 79-77 lead with 7.4 seconds.
Navarro rushed up court and Hunter launched a one-handed shot that swished with 0.1 seconds. The only question was if it was a winner or two-pointer. The officials ruled a two and a third OT was needed.
The Bulldogs led 84-81 on Broddie’s 3-pointer. Warren followed with a drive to the bucket for two at the 1:17 mark to pull TJC within 84-83.
Navarro had two chances for inside shots but Jackson came up with a strong rebound with 39.2 seconds.
TJC worked the ball around and as the shot clock was winding down to 4 seconds, Balentine was fouled by Hunter near the top of the key.
Balentine then swished the free throws for the win. Navarro dropped its fifth straight game and 13th in its last 15. The Bulldogs, still trying to fight for a Region XIV Tournament berth, face the Kilgore Rangers head-on Wednesday at Masters Gymnasium in a battle that likely determines the 12th and final tournament seed.
NOTES: Will Brooks, TJC’s 6-11 post, was sidelined once again with an injury. His status is still uncertain for Wednesday’s game with Trinity Valley in Tyler…. Tyler and Navarro combined to miss 27 free throws in the triple-overtime game.… Other men’s results on Saturday were: Panola 74, Kilgore 64; Bossier Parish 81, Paris 79; San Jacinto 98, Lamar State-Port Arthur 80; Angelina 79, Blinn 65; and Lee 73, Jacksonville 71.
No. 15 Tyler JC 86, Navarro 84, 3 OT
Tyler JC 27 37 7 8 7- 86
Navarro 37 27 7 8 5- 84
TYLER-Jaqwan McCauley, 15; Brian Warren, 21; Kwinton Hinson, 13; Desmond Balentine, 7; Devante Cooper, 3; TiAndre Jackson, 9; Eden Ewing, 10; Trenton Sandifer, 4; Tajuan Agee, 4.
NAVARRO-D’Angelo Hunter, 25; Saint Hilaire, 1; Jordan Parker, 3; Cameron King, 5; Emmanuel Egbuta, 4; Randall Broddie, 24; Calvin Anderson, 0; Eric McCollum, 13; Fritz Lucien, 9.
THREE POINT GOALS-TJC (8 of 27): Warren (4), Hinson, Balentine, Jackson (2). NC (4 of 18): Hunter, Broddie (3).
END OF REGULATION-64-64.
END OF FIRST OVERTIME-71-71.
END OF SECOND OVERTIME-79-79.
TOTAL FOULS-TJC 27, NC 20.
FREE THROWS- TJC 16 of 31, NC 22 of 34.
TURNOVERS- TJC 17, NC 17.
REBOUNDS- TJC 55 (Ewing 11, Cooper 10, Hinson 7), NC 48 (McCollum 12, Broddie 8, Egbuta 6).
FOULED OUT-TJC: McCauley, Hinson, Sandifer; NC: King.
RECORDS-Tyler 22-4 (14-4), Navarro 11-16 (4-13).
NEXT UP-Trinity Valley at Tyler, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; Navarro at Kilgore, 7 p.m. Wednesday.