Navarro, TVCC battle for Region XIV title, trip to NJCAAs

Navarro, TVCC battle for Region XIV title, trip to NJCAAs

On To The Championship!

Top-seeded East Zone winner Navarro (25-6) advanced to Saturday’s 7 pm Region XIV Men’s Championship Game with a 73-64 semifinal victory Friday over the Angelina Roadrunners.

Navarro next will face TVCC (26-7) at Centenary College’s Gold Dome in Shreveport, La., for the regional championship and the automatic bid for the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Ks.

Coach Guy Furr’s Cardinals defeated Tyler 77-72 in Friday’s other semifinal matchup. TVCC twice lost to TJC (23-7) during the regular season (84-66 at Athens and 74-72 at Tyler).

In Friday’s first semifinal, the Bulldogs scored the final nine points of the game, breaking from a 64-64 tie with 1:57 to play.

Sherman Robinson’s third three-pointer of the game broke the final deadlock with 1:36 left on the clock. Shakem Johnson’s turnaround jumper at 1:29 after an Angelina inbounding turnover gave the ‘Dogs a five-point lead.

Free throws by Trey Pulliam and Xavier Davenport extended the margin.

The 24th-ranked Bulldogs will be making their first Region XIV Basketball Championship Game appearance since the 2012-13 season when a 25-8 Navarro team played Lee in the title game at The Herrington Patriot Center at UT-Tyler.

Saturday’s championship-game appearance will be Navarro’s seventh since the 2006-2007 season.

It will mark coach Michael Landers’ first with the Bulldogs and first with a Region XIV men’s basketball team after national championship runs with the TVCC women’s program.

Navarro’s victory snapped Angelina’s  eight-game winning streak and ended the Roadrunners’ 18-14 season.

Pulliam led Navarro with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. Davenport, on fire for the last three games, pitched in 16 tonight on 5-of-7 shooting. Gavin Kensmil added 14 with seven rebounds.

NC trailed 35-29 at halftime. The Bulldogs twice trailed by as many as eight points during the first 20 minutes, but limited the Roadrunners to five points in the first 9:30 after the break.

Navarro shot only 27.8 percent from three-point range (5-of-18), but Robinson accounted for three of them in immense spots. One tied the game (at 23), and the two others catapulted NC into leads. The freshman also pulled down six rebounds.

Semifinal Box Summary: Navarro 73, Angelina 64