Get ready for wall-to-wall basketball for Tyler Junior College, starting today and going into March with 29 conference games.

TJC resumes Region XIV play in the new semester with a doubleheader today against first-place Trinity Valley at Wagstaff Gymnasium. The game times are 5:30 (women) and 7:30 p.m. (men).

The Apaches will play 15 conference games the remainder of the 2011-12 season, while the Apache Ladies will have 14 league games.

Men

The Apaches (9-4, 2-2 Region XIV North) experienced the ups and downs in the first semester that come with having 10 freshmen. They defeated Panola and Bossier Parish on the road, and lost to Navarro and Paris at home.

“The first semester, we were taking a step forward and (then) a step and a half back,” TJC head coach Mike Marquis said. “Then two steps forward (and) one giant one back. We just couldn’t put together three or four straight days where everyone was going together.

“Another thing that hurt us is we have a very deep team when we’re good, but we rush it when we start subbing. That’s stuff we’ve tried to address — staying together and being more patient.”

TJC’s starters today will be Trent Washington at point guard, Ta’Jon Welcome and Jaron Johnson on the wings, Daniel Edozie at power forward and 6-10 Winslo Barry at post. Johnson, a 6-5 sophomore from John Tyler, leads the Apaches with 14.3 points per game.

Marquis said the team currently has two personnel issues. Alton Tanner, a 6-7 freshman from Katy, could see limited duty against Trinity Valley due to a knee injury. Tyler Brunson, a 6-7 freshman from Tucker, Ga., will not dress out due to a violation of team rules.

“I think our big thing is we’re going to have close games and we need to be more comfortable in our execution and we need to make free throws,” Marquis said. “If we do those things, we’re going to come out on the right end of close games and if we continue to struggle, we’re going to come out on the wrong end.”

Trinity Valley comes in at 10-4 overall and 3-0 in the North Zone. The three conference wins are by a total of 11 points.

Women

Trinity Valley (14-0, 3-0), which lost in the national championship game last season, brings the No. 1 ranking to Tyler.

The Lady Cardinals, however, lost to TJC (11-4, 3-1) in their last meeting after winning 15 of 16 and seven in a row in the series.

SMOKE SIGNALS: Caldwell Elementary’s Teams of Tomorrow, a Fundamental and Creative Basketball program, will be the halftime entertainment today at Wagstaff Gymnasium. The Tiny TOT team is set to perform its ball skills during the women’s game. The Basic TOTS will be highlighted during the men’s game. Tiny TOTS comprise 62 students in kindergarten through first grade while the Basic has 72 second- through fifth-graders. The coaches are Dyann Kemp, Kathlynn Hall, Cynthia Bowie, Janie Fowler, Lucy Morgan and Trevescia King.

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