By MIKE MONTFORT / Photos by Keith Speer
— Keir Anderson redeemed himself and saved the Navarro Bulldogs in a matter of seconds.
With about :10 remaining in regulation, Anderson’s attempted, go-ahead three was blocked out front, and resulted in Gary Blackston advancing to the foul line for Angelina in attempts to extend an 81-80 lead. Blackston hit one of two in the double-bonus situation to put the Roadunners ahead, 82-80.
With :05.6 left, Navarro frantically pushed a backcourt-inbound and found Anderson, who had an open look from the corner. As the buzzer sounded, Anderson’s shot nestled through the bottom of the net, and the corner three sank AC, 83-82.
The dagger was buried, and Anderson was buried by teammates in the celebration that erupted in front of the Navarro bench. The Bulldogs executed another stirring, second-half comeback from as much as a 14-point deficit to win their fifth straight game and eighth in their last nine.
Anderson finished with 18 points, including 3/5 shooting from the arc as Coach Michael Landers’ team (10-6/6-0) remained unbeaten in Region XIV conference play and kept pace with second-ranked Trinity Valley (16-1/6-0) atop the East Zone standings.
They found a new way to win Wednesday.
Navarro’s largest lead of the game was six points — 13-7 at 14:29 of the first half. With just over 13 minutes left in the NC held a 19-15 lead, but the ‘Runners took advantage of a near 10-minute scoring drought and blasted the Bulldogs with 18 unanswered points. NC finally ended the dry spell with a pair of free throws at 3:43, but didn’t score its first bucket until Jamar Martin connected at 2:22.
Angelina held a 41-30 lead at halftime, marking a third straight game in the Bulldogs found themselves behind at intermission.
Eric McCullom and Saint Hilaire caught fire at the outset of the second half, and the combustion ignited the Bulldogs into ties at 49 and at 51 by the 16-minute juncture.
AC, led by conference-scoring leader Corinthian Ramsey and Kahari Beaufort, responded with an 11-2 run for a 62-53 lead at 12:09.
Then, it was Navarro’s turn to fight back with a 17-7 sprint that resulted in a 70-69 lead with 6:29 to play.
NC’s largest second-half leads were by two points on two occasions inside the final 5:33 (72-70 and 75-73 at 4:16). Just enough. Through the see-saw finish, there were two ties and three lead changes.
Navarro shot 42% from the floor (27/59), including 10/22 from three-point range. NC also connected on 80% of its free throws (20/25).
The Bulldogs have won seven of their last eight meetings from Angelina, but six of those game have been decided by six points or less.
ANGELINA (10-6/3-3): Trent Brinkley 17, Corinthian Rqamsey 15, Kahari Beaufort 15, Zach Shepherd 11, Gary Blackston 8, Shane Temara 6, Deion Fields 5, Antione Kerr 3, Victor Bell 2. TOTALS: 20-8-(18-26)-82.
NAVARRO (10-6/6-0): Jamar Martin 20, Keir Anderson 18, Eric McCullom 17, Saint Hilaire 14, Calvin Anderson 5, Neek Mukoro 3, D’Angelo Hunter 3, Conrad Chambers 2, MyQuan Gooding 1, Cameron King 1. TOTALS: 19-10-(20-25)-85.
HALFTIME: Angelina 41, Navarro 30.
FOUL OUT: AC – Temara. NC – McCullom.
TECHNICAL FOULS: None.
NC REBOUNDS 37 (McCullom 9, Hilaire 9, King 5, Martin 5, Hunter 5, Chambers 2, Gooding 1, K Anderson 1)
NC ASSISTS 17 (Hilaire 6, Martin 4, K Anderson 3, Chambers 2, C Anderson 1, King 1)
NC STEALS 6 (Martin 2, Gooding 1, C Anderson 1, McCullom 1, Hilaire 1)
NC BLOCKS 9 (Hilaire 2, King 2, McCullom 2, Hunter 1, Martin 1, C Anderson 1)
- Region XIV results from Wednesday with updated standings