‘Dogs run to 16-1 as late free throws sink Seahawks, 77-75

‘Dogs run to 16-1 as late free throws sink Seahawks, 77-75

BY MIKE MONTFORT  —

PORT ARTHUR — Free throws by Trey Pulliam, Xavier Davenport and Ja’Quaye James inside the final :20 helped Navarro turn back Lamar State, 77-75, Saturday in a battle of Region XIV Zone leaders at The Carl Parker Center.

Navarro (16-1/6-0) won its 14th consecutive game, remained unbeaten in conference play, and completed a sweep of all six regular-season South Zone crossover games.  Coach Michael Landers’ Bulldogs seized a second two-possession win that maintained their unbeaten road record (5-0) and broke the Seahawks’ five-game winning streak.

While handing coach Lance Madison’s Seahawks their second homecourt loss of the season, NC’s season record equals the best compiled among Region XIV and Region V teams with Collin (16-1) and matches Collin, Hill and TVCC for the most wins.

The Bulldogs had opened their second nine-point lead (69-60) with 2:53 to go, but the Seahawks stormed back by tallying seven unanswered — finally pulling within 69-67 on Devin Ellis’ layup with :48 remaining. Ellis led Seahawk scorers with 19, 17 in the second half.

Pressed for time, Lamar State fouled NC, but sent the Bulldogs’ three top percentage free-throw shooters to the line. Guards Pulliam, Davenport and James finished off the win and the team’s 16-for-23 day at the line by capitalizing on all six clutch attempts.

It was just enough to keep the Seahawks at bay after a battle that featured 10 ties and 12 lead changes. Saturday’s game between Navarro and Lamar State was the sixth two-possession decision in their last seven meetings.

Sophomore Gavin Kensmil turned in his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The NJCAA’s individual field-goal percentage leader (72.7 percent) fashioned his second consecutive 8-of-10 shooting performance. Kensmil’s hit 37-of-49 shots (75.5 percent) during six conference games.

James contributed 12 points from 4-of-8 shooting that included a pair of three-pointers. He had a team-high four assists.

Pulliam added a dozen points from 4-of-9 shooting with four rebounds and two assists.

And Shakem Johnson totaled 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs which rallied with a 52-point second half after trailing at halftime (31-25) for the first time this season.

Navarro’s shooting efficiency (51.9 percent) and defensive rebounding edge (34-21) made a difference and covered for 17 turnovers. The Bulldogs sank 28-of-54 shots and held a 43-30 overall lead on the boards. LSC-PA shot 41.5 percent from the floor.

SCORE BY HALVES:
Navarro 25 — 52 — 77
LSC-PA 31 — 44 — 75
NAVARRO: Kensmil 22, James 12, Pulliam 12, Johnson 11, Rene 8, Jean-Marie 6, Davenport 6. TOTALS: (28-54)-(5-13)-(16-23)-77.
LSC-PA: Ellis 19, Bailey 14, Thomas 10, Baker 10, Chatman 9, Jones 7, Minor 4, Williams 2. TOTALS: (27-65)-(6-23)-(15-22)-75.
REBOUNDS: NC 43 (9/34). Kensmil 11, Jean-Marie 9, Johnson 7.
ASSISTS: NC 6. James 4, Pulliam 2.
STEALS: NC 4. Johnson, James, Davenport, Kensmil
BLOCKED SHOT: NC 1. Kensmil
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REGION XIV MEN’S BASKETBALL
Scores From Saturday, January 12
Navarro 77, Lamar State-Port Arthur 75
Jacksonville 63, Bossier Parish 59
TVCC 89, Angelina 59
Blinn 64, Kilgore 57
Panola 77, Coastal Bend 69
Lee 99, Paris 94  (4-OT)

REGION V NTJCAC MEN’S BASKETBALL
Scores From Saturday, January 12
Collin 80, McLennan 79
Temple 98, Weatherford 68
Southwestern Christian 113, Grayson 102

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ON TO THE NEXT: Bossier Parish at Navarro, 7 pm Wednesday, Jan. 16 at The Wolens Special Events Center.