BY MIKE MONTFORT —
Jahlil Nails set a 32-year-old Wolens Center single-game scoring record by a Bulldog with 40 points in Navarro’s 100-78 Region XIV men’s basketball win Saturday over the Panola Ponies.
Nails hit 11-of-17 shots from the floor including 8-of-12 from three-point range and sank all 10 of his free-throw attempts to go with seven rebounds. The 6-foot-5 sophomore scored 28 second-half points punctuated by six of his three-point attempts as the Bulldogs snapped Panola’s six-game winning streak.
Nails, a University of Idaho signee, became the third NC player to score 40 or more in a single game since 1986, and the first to do it here. Navarro’s previous three occasions of 40-plus scoring occurred on the road. Frank Thomas did it twice during the 1992-93 season — 45 in a 113-100 overtime loss at Paris and 41 in a 106-96 win at Jacksonville. DeAndre Brown matched Thomas’ 45 in a 106-96 win at Temple in 2008-09.
The Central Connecticut State transfer, who had only two turnovers and one personal foul all afternoon, wrapped up a sensational effort by hitting a one-shot technical foul for the Bulldogs’ 100th point. Nails surpassed the 38 by Navarro’s SEC co-recordholders Malcolm Leak and Keith Acosta. Leak scored 38 points in a 119-115 overtime win from McLennan during a Navarro Classic game (1990-91). Acosta matched that total in a 106-98 overtime loss to San Jacinto (1997-98). Franklin Benson (2002-03) scored 36 in a 108-90 win over Weatherford.
Navarro’s precision bombing from the outset frustrated a Panola squad that hit only 38.6 percent of its shots from the floor. The Bulldogs, which led 41-24 at halftime, shot 56.6 percent from the floor (30-of-53) and 55 percent beyond the arc (15-of-27) in the contest. Over its last five conference games, Navarro has hit 50.8 percent of its three-point attempts (62-of-122).
As impressive as Nails was, North Crowley freshman Tre Thomas almost upstaged him with a head-turning, jaw-dropping personal-best game of the season.
For a player who began the day with 11-game season totals of 21 points and 19 rebounds, the 6-foot-5 wing secured his first double-double with 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in his first start and most significant playing time of the season. Thomas was 6-of-8 from the floor, including 4-of-6 treys.
Navarro committed 22 fouls in the contest, lost Odessey Keeling (12 points) and Keion Epps to fouls during the final 10 minutes, and also played about 25 minutes without Josiah Patton. With 4:53 left in the first half, Patton and teammate Emmanuel Egbuta collided hard under the basket as PC’s Jeremy Roscoe drove and drew a player-control foul. Athletic training personnel worked with Patton who stayed on his back on the floor after the collision. Patton did not return to the game in the second half.
Roscoe, a 6-3 freshman guard, led the Ponies with 30 points and 10 assists. Sophomore guard Marlon Taylor came off the bench with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Navarro has an open date Wednesday, travels to Athens to face Trinity Valley on Saturday, and returns home to square off with the Tyler Apaches on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
Elsewhere around the league Saturday:
PARIS 96, TVCC 82
Paris overcame a 37-34 halftime deficit by outscoring TVCC 62-45 in the second half of its game at Athens. The Cardinals shot only 34.4 percent from the field and hit only 4-of-31 three-pointers. Sophomore Wendell Mitchell led the Redbirds with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Sophomore forward Andres Ibarguen added a 15/13 double-double.
TVCC wore throwback uniforms reflecting a mid-1980s look when the Cardinals wore red and white accented in blue trim. Saturday’s throwbacks were worn on a day designed to honor longtime head coach and NJCAA Hall of Famer Leon Spencer with the creation of a scholarship in his name. The throwbacks were predominantly blue with white numerals and “Henderson County” lettering accented in red.
TYLER 71, BOSSIER PARISH 65
Tyler scored the final 10 points of the game, including eight by 6-8 sophomore forward Tajuan Agee as the Apaches rallied past Bossier Parish at Wagstaff Gym. TJC led much of the game, but fell behind 65-61 with 3:12 left in the game. Agee finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks as the Apaches remained unbeaten after 13 games at home. Agee’s final eight points featured 6-of-6 foul shooting. The Apaches hit all 14 second-half free throws and finished 20-of-22 for the game.
BPCC got a game-high 22 points from 6-6 sophomore guard Brandon Moore, 16 of which came in the final 20 minutes. Sophomore forward Mubarak Muhammed added a 15/10 double-double for the Cavaliers.
BLINN 72, SAN JACINTO 66
Markques Houston netted 17 points and five rebounds to pace Blinn to its win over San Jacinto at Pasadena. Antione Lister scored 16 points, and redshirt freshman guard Bradley George added 14 that included 10-of-12 from the free-throw line.
COASTAL BEND 66, LEE 63
The Cougars overcame a 33-24 halftime deficit at Beeville and edged Lee. J’Von McCormick led the Rebels with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Collin Means hit 18 points and cleared nine boards. McCormick and Means accounted for 6 of Lee’s eight three-pointers.
Lee lost its fifth straight and seventh in its last 10 games.
JACKSONVILLE at LAMAR STATE-PORT ARTHUR, ppd.
City water main issues with breaks and pressure problems all week from the freezing conditions caused officials to postpone Saturday’s game. The game has been re-set for Monday, Feb., 19, at the Carl Parker Center.
REGION XIV MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE THIS WEEK
Tuesday, January 23
Angelina at Jacksonville
Lone Star-Cy Fair at San Jacinto-Central (Non-Conference)
Wednesday, January 24
Tyler at Paris
Kilgore at Bossier Parish
TVCC at Panola
Coastal Bend at Blinn
Lamar State-Port Arthur at Lee
Navarro – Open Date
Saturday, January 27
Navarro at TVCC
Panola at Tyler
Paris at Kilgore
Lee at Angelina
Blinn at Lamar State-Port Arthur
San Jacinto at Coastal Bend