By MIKE MONTFORT
Sixth-ranked TVCC awakened during the middle stage of the second half when it put together a five-minute run of 15 unanswered points and overcame Navarro.
The Cardinals’ eighth straight win, coupled with Tyler’s 88-75 loss to Panola, sealed the East Zone regular-season championship and assured TVCC of the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region XIV Tournament at Jacksonville.
Against Navarro, the Cardinals fell behind 41-33 at halftime and trailed 54-47 with 12:25 left. That’s when 6-10 freshman Robinson Idehen, 6-7 sophomore Andres Ibarguen and 6-11 Jaime Echenique keyed the 15-point run and used their size advantage to overpower Navarro inside. All finished with double-doubles. Idehen scored 11 points cleared 10 rebounds; Ibarguen matched his regular-season game totals of 10 points and 10 boards; and Echenique came off the bench with 16 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
A 46-rebound game and a 46-29 second-half scoring advantage helped the Redbirds remain unbeaten in 12 road games and claim their 16th league win in 17 tries. Navarro 16 points from Dondre Griffin and 15 from Jahlil Nails.
The loss was a third straight for Navarro and its seventh in its last nine games.
Navarro plays Saturday at Tyler before closing out its home schedule next Wednesday against the Kilgore Rangers.
Elsewhere in Region XIV basketball Wednesday:
PANOLA 88, TYLER 75 Sophomore guard Juwan Williams had a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds to spark Panola to its upset win over TJC at Carthage. The Apaches hit only 21 of 37 free-throw attempts, including a 50% second half (12-of-24). Freshman guard Jeremy Roscoe and 6-9 sophomore Shandon Goldman had 15 points each for the Ponies. Tyler jumped out to a 10-3 lead, but Panola responded with 12 straight and led the remainder of the half. TJC’s Micah Thomas threaded three three-pointers to start the second half and pulled the Apaches within 38-35, but they drew no closer. Sophomore point guard Brian Warren led Tyler with 15 points while Thomas and Desmond Balentine each pumped in 10. The win for Panola, fourth in the East Zone, ended a three-game Tyler win streak.
KILGORE 70, PARIS 60 The Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak as four players cracked into double-figure scoring. Chad Bowie led Kilgore with 17 points, while Malachi Davidson added 11. Davon Newton and Samory Gueye each pitched in 10 points as the Dragons dropped their fourth game in five outings.
LAMAR STATE-PORT ARTHUR 66, BLINN 62 The Seahawks, fighting for a Region XIV Tournament berth, won their fourth game in their last six with a four-point decision at the Kruse Center in Brenham. Tevin Baker and 6-11 forward Matej Gaspert came off the Lamar State bench for a combined for 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting and a perfect 7 free-throw attempts in the win. Baker had 15 points and five assists; Gaspert totaled 10 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Blinn jumped to a 9-0 lead (its largest of the game), but the Seahawks later responded with a 19-2 run to lead. The game was tied at 53 when Lamar State went on a 9-2 run to take a 62-55 lead with 2:00 remaining. Blinn got 12 points apiece from 6-10 redshirt sophomore Tony Lewis and 6-4 sophomore guard Markques Houston.
LEE 76, ANGELINA 73 Sophomore forward Will Sessoms came off the bench with 20 points from 7-of-12 shooting as the Running Rebels sent Angelina crashing to its fifth straight defeat. J’Von McCormick led Lee with 19 points and nine assists, while Collin Means contributed 14 points.
SAN JACINTO 80, COASTAL BEND 75 (OT) The Ravens got 16 points from Kabir Muhammed and 10 from Tay Hardy to secure their second straight South Zone win and catapult into sole possession of second place. CBC got a game-high 25 points from Malik Amos, 18 from Dajuan Madden and 14 from Bernard Randle. The teams battled to a 65-65 regulation tie after a halftime deadlock at 29.
TVCC 79, Navarro 70
Panola 88, Tyler 75
Kilgore 70, Paris 60
Lamar State-Port Arthur 66, Blinn 62
San Jacinto 80, Coastal Bend 75 (OT)
Lee 76, Angelina 73
Bossier Parish 81, CYM Prep 70
SCHEDULE SATURDAY: (4 pm tipoffs)
Navarro at Tyler
Panola at Kilgore
Paris at Bossier Parish
San Jacinto at Lamar State-Port Arthur
Blinn at Angelina
Lee at Jacksonville