By MIKE MONTFORT —
Navarro got double-figure scoring from six players, profited from 17 offensive rebounds, and hit 16-of-19 free throws enroute to an 86-74 win Saturday over Bossier Parish that clinched a berth in the Region XIV Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Bulldogs’ win, coupled with Kilgore’s 80-69 loss to Trinity Valley at Athens, enabled Navarro to wrestle away the 12th and final tournament seed and eliminate coach Brian Hoberecht’s Rangers.
Just in time, ‘Sophomore Day’ became ‘Qualifying Day’ Saturday for a Bulldog team that had lost six consecutive games and spiraled to losses in 14 of its final 16. Navarro entered Saturday’s final set of regular-season games on the outside of the tournament looking in — and appeared to be destined as the first NC basketball team to miss postseason since 2005-06.
Instead, coach Michael Landers’ team (12-17) will play a 3 pm Tuesday first-round game against fifth-seeded Tyler (23-4) when the Region XIV Tournament begins at John Alexander Gymnasium in Jacksonville. Should Navarro beat TJC for the first time this season and win the 5-12 matchup, it would advance to a 3 pm Thursday quarterfinal round meeting with No. 4 seed Lee — a team it defeated 86-73 January 11 in Corsicana.
D’Angelo Hunter scored a team-high 20 points to pace Navarro to its must-win Saturday. Hunter, scoring 20 points or more for the third time in four games, also had four rebounds and a team-best two steals as Navarro beat BPCC for the 15th time in 18 all-time meetings.
Saint Hilaire contributed 14 points — primarily on 8-of-10 free-throw shooting — and cleared four defensive boards and dished out a team-high five assists.
Eric ‘Scooter’ McCollum fashioned his sixth double-double of the season by scoring 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting and grabbing a team- and personal- single-game-high 16 rebounds. Of McCollum’s 16 boards, seven were offensive.
At the second half’s outset nursing a 40-37 lead, Navarro got statement offensive putbacks on five consecutive possessions (two from McCollum) and re-established a 53-43 lead by 16:13. That came on the heels of the first half’s final 2:23, when BPCC went on a 13-2 sprint to end the half that wiped out a 14-point Navarro lead.
Another sophomore, Xavier Fogle, came off the bench with his personal single-game best 12 points from 5-of-7 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and made two assists.
BPCC came no closer than four points (53-49) with 13:58 left.
Only five Cavaliers scored, led by point guard Jerry Perry and Brandon Johnson. Each tallied 19. Lasani Johnson, who hit 31 against the Bulldogs at Bossier, was held to 17 Saturday.
SCORE BY HALVES
Bossier Parish 37 37 — 74
Navarro 40 46 — 86
BPCC (10-20/6-13): Jerry Perry 19, Brandon Johnson 19, Lasani Johnson 17, Brandon Moore 11, Emmauel Ejeh 8. TOTALS: 23-3-(19-29)-74.
NAVARRO (12-17/5-14): D’Angelo Hunter 20, Saint Hilaire 14, Emmanuel Egbuta 13, Xavier Fogle 12, Randall Broddie 11, Eric McCollum 10, Fritz Lucien 6. TOTALS: 26-6-(16-19)-86.
SEE RELATED STORIES
- Region XIV Tournament Seeding and Schedule
- Expanded Region XIV and Region V Men’s Basketball Standings as of March 4
- Team-By-Team Schedules and Results From Region XIV and Region V as of March 4