BY MIKE MONTFORT —
BAYTOWN — Quality over quantity anyday.
It showed Wednesday as Navarro’s depleted basketball team — all 8 dressed members — rallied from an eight-point deficit and shocked Lee with a 20-6 run over the final 6:32 to secure an 81-70 Region XIV men’s basketball victory.
Navarro erased a 54-46 deficit inside the final 13 minutes and finished strong behind the play of sophomore Emmanuel Egbuta, who fashioned his third double-double of the season — 26 points and 11 rebounds — and sparked coach Michael Landers’ squad to its second straight victory.
Trailing 64-61 with six players saddled by three personal fouls, the Bulldogs went to work. Consecutive threes by Jahlil Nails (14 points) by the 4:29 mark lifted Navarro into a lead it never relinquished. Egbuta’s putback at 3:40 extended NC’s lead to 69-65. Dondre Griffin (11 points) followed by drilling his third three-pointer of the game that widened the Dogs’ lead to seven (72-65) with 3:00 to play.
Navarro took its biggest lead of the night after an Egbuta reverse for a 74-65 advantage.
Despite their depth and size disadvantage on the road, the Bulldogs pulled down 36 rebounds (12 offensive) — categorical-best numbers since their return from the Christmas break.
J’Von McCormick’s 19 points paced Coach Roy Champagne’s Lee Rebels, which dropped their third straight game, their fifth in their last eight outings, and fell to 7-10/1-5.
The Bulldogs (13-3/4-2) will complete a tough ‘welcome-back’ stretch of four conference games within an eight-day period on Saturday. Navarro hosts coach Scott Schumacher’s Blinn Buccaneers (10-5/2-4) in Region XIV’s final crossover games of the season. Blinn is one of four teams sharing the South Zone lead.
Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 4 pm tipoff at the Wolens Special Events Center.