Article Courtesy of Phil Hicks, Tyler Morning Telegraph
With four nationally ranked teams on the floor and a vocal crowd mixed in with some of the best players is the country, March Madness was in full force Wednesday night at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
Tajuan Agee hit crucial free throws down the stretch and point guard Brian Warren dished out some magic as No. 18 Tyler Junior College defeated No. 14 Trinity Valley, 76-73, in a Region XIV men's basketball game.
In the first game, No. 12 TVCC held off the No. 21 Apache Ladies in the final seconds, 77-74.
The Apaches have a bye on Saturday and will wait to see what their seeding is for the Region XIV Tournament, which begins Tuesday at John Alexander Gym in Jacksonville. TJC could be the No. 1 seed, No. 2 or No. 5 depending on Saturday's results.The Apaches (23-4) clinched at least a share of the Region XIV North Zone men's title with the win. TJC is a half game ahead of both TVCC and Panola, who are both 14-4 with home games on Saturday. TVCC hosts Kilgore and Panola takes on Paris.
The Apache Ladies (22-7) are 13-6 in conference and will conclude the regular season on Saturday at Blinn. TJC will likely be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed when the women's tournament, also in Jacksonville, begins on Wednesday.
Between games, TJC honored its sophomores.For TVCC, the Lady Cardinals (23-5, 15-3) clinched their 16th straight conference championship and 25th in 26 years.
Five Apaches scored in double figures, led by Kwinton Hinson's 15 points; followed by Warren (14), Davante Cooper (12), Jaqwan McCauley (11) and TiAndre Jackson (11).
Cooper, a sophomore from Atlanta, had perhaps his best game of the year. His nine first-half points, including a 3-pointer by the 6-11 post, keep the Apaches in the game. He added seven boards and three blocked shots.
McCauley had nine boards and Agee added seven.
Byron Edwards led TVCC with 19 points with Andres Ibarguen adding 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Agee hit two free throws with 42.1 seconds remaining to give TJC a 72-71 lead. He finished 5 of 6 from the charity stripe. Warren, a freshman from Indianapolis, had a nice length-court pass to Eden Ewing for a slam that basically clinched the contest with 20.1 seconds showing.
It appeared the Apache Ladies were close to upsetting the Lady Cardinals when Catherine Okwilagwe scored with 42.2 seconds showing. The bucket would have brought TJC to within a point, 73-72, but she was called for a charge much to the dismay of TJC coach Trenia Tillis-Jones. She was expecting a potential free throw to tie the game.
Sky'lynn Holmes led TJC with 22 points and eight rebounds. Nautica Grant added 13.
Skakeela Fowler led TVCC with 25 points.
TJC made 16 of 25 at the free throw line while TVCC was 25 of 30.
No. 12 Trinity Valley 77, No. 21 Tyler JC 74
Trinity Valley 22 20 17 18 - 77
Tyler 26 15 16 17 - 74
TRINITY VALLEY - Angel Johnson, 2; Christalah Lyons, 4; Ashley Murray, 0; Naomi Davenport, 17; Shakeela Fowler, 25; Malaysia McHenry, 12; Monique Mills, 4; Dominique Mills, 5; Jordan Alexander 0; Rainey Kuykendall, 6; Dajah Daniel 2.
TYLER - Nautica Grant, 13; Lakenda Bassett, 9; De'Janie Graves, 3; Jordan Towery, 7; Erin Smith, 2; Ashley Clayborn, 3; Antionette Shrepee, 2; Catherine Okwilagwe, 5; Sky'lynn Holmes, 22; Victoria Blankenship, 0; Jalah Walton, 8.
THREE-POINT GOALS - TVCC: none (0 of 9); TJC: (8 of 20), Grant (3), Bassett (3), Towery, Clayborn.
RECORDS - Trinity Valley 23-5 (15-3), TJC 22-7 (13-6).
NEXT UP - Kilgore at Trinity Valley, 2 p.m. Saturday; Tyler at Blinn, 2 p.m. Saturday.
No. 18 Tyler JC 76, No. 14 Trinity Valley 73
Trinity Valley 38 35 - 73
Tyler 32 44 - 76
TRINITY VALLEY - Josh Stamps, 4; Lorenzo Phillips, 2; Jaquan Lightfoot, 2; Ryan Preston, 5; Brandon Holley, 8; Hyron Edwards, 19; Julius Jackson, 2; Andres Ibarguen, 18; Jaime Echenique, 6; Amanze Njokuibe, 0; Amaad Wainright, 7.
TYLER - Will Brooks, 0; Jaqwan McCauley, 11; Brian Warren, 14; Kwinton Hinson, 15; Desmond Balentine, 0; Davante Cooper, 12; TiAndre Jackson, 11; Eden Ewing, 4; Trenton Sandifer, 4; Tajuan Agee, 5.
THREE-POINT GOALS - TVCC (5 of 21): Holley (2), Edwards (2), Wainright. TJC (5 of 16): Warren, Hinson, Cooper, Jackson (2).
RECORDS - TVCC 23-6 (14-4), TJC 23-4 (15-4).
NEXT UP - Kilgore at Trinity Valley, 4 p.m. Saturday; TJC at Region XIV Tournament, TBA.