08 Mar ‘Dawgs, Angelina square off in 6 pm Friday semifinals
The Region XIV Men’s Tournament Semifinals are set Friday.
Top-seeded East Zone Champion Navarro (24-6) clashes with the Angelina Roadrunners (18-13) in the 6 pm first game. In the 8 pm game, TVCC (25-7) and Tyler (23-6) battle for a third time this season.
Winners advance to Saturday’s 7 pm Region XIV Championship Game at Centenary College’s Gold Dome in Shreveport, La., and play for an automatic bid to the NJCAA Tournament at Hutchinson, Ks.
Tonight, Navarro will seek its first Region XIV Tournament Championship game appearance since the 2012-13 season when a 25-8 Bulldog team faced Lee College in the final at The Herrington Patriot Center at UT-Tyler.
The Bulldogs face an Angelina team that remains the league’s hottest into the post-season. First-year coach Nick Wade’s Roadrunners enter Friday’s game with an eight-game winning streak and victories in 10 of their last 11.
Angelina averages 78 points with a +2.5 margin differential. AC is 6-4 in games determined by two possessions or less. During their playoff-stretch run, the Roadrunners won three zone games (two on the road) by a combined nine points. They clinched the South Zone’s second seed with a 61-59 win at home over Lamar State (20-12).
Angelina decisively defeated a 23-9 Panola team Thursday, 87-65, handing the Ponies their second 20-point-plus loss in their final three outings. Kevin Norman (19.1 ppg) led AC with 18 points and nine rebounds. Deon’ta Lagway added 16 points, six rebounds and two steals.
The Roadrunners also feature the play of Hunter Janacek (15) and Dralyn Brown (10).
A balanced Navarro team highlights six double-figure scorers: Gavin Kensmil (15 ppg), James Jean-Marie (13.2), Shakem Johnson (12.3), Trey Pulliam (12.2), Ja’Quaye James (11.6) and Xavier Davenport (10.5).
Davenport’s been an ‘X’ factor for the Bulldogs in their most recent wins over Panola and Kilgore. Combined from both contests, the sophomore’s hit 11-of-17 shots from the floor, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. He’s averaged 17.5 points in those games.
Off the bench come freshmen Nichols Rene (8.8), Sherman Robinson (6.6) and Tyrese Patterson with quality minutes in varied roles.
Navarro and Angelina last met…last year. The teams played their single zone crossover game on December 5, 2018 at Lewis Orr Court in The Wolens Special Events Center. Navarro won that game 81-66 as Trey Pulliam turned in a 30-point, five-assist, three-steal game.
QUARTERFINAL BOX SUMMARY: Navarro 70, Kilgore 65