NJCAA honors Apache Ladies


The Tyler Junior College Apache Ladies basketball team not only earned the Elite Eight in the NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Tournament, but the NJCAA honored the team with a sportsmanship award.

The Apache Ladies, coached by Trenia Tillis-Jones, were awarded the Alberta Lee Cox Sportsmanship award during Saturday’s final day of the tournament at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kan.

The Alberta Lee Cox Sportsmanship Award is voted on by the tournament staff and the referees.

Alberta Lee Cox was the first woman to coach a U.S. Olympic team sport and the first woman to coach a U.S. women’s basketball team on foreign soil.

The NJCAA said, “this award is given on her behalf at the NJCAA National Women’s Tournament to the team that has shown exemplary and outstanding sportsmanship skills throughout the championship tournament.”

“I could not be more proud of the way our Apache Ladies represented Tyler and Tyler Junior College on and off the court in Salina, Kansas,” Dr. Tim Drain, TJC athletic director, said. “Moments after our loss, I was filled with great pride when numerous community members and event volunteers told our team that they hoped they would qualify again next year so they could see them.

“All in all, the Alberta Cox Sportsmanship award was a fitting way to end the season.”

Apache Ladies team members are: Malena Washington, Blayke Hemmitt, Shernise Robertson, Victoria Kemokai, Katelynn Johnson, Amber Driver, Brittny Norris, Jasmine Prophet, Bria Emanuel, Caitlyn Ramirez, Cynthia N’Dri and Chelsi Watson.

Tillis-Jones is in her 14th season as head coach. She was assisted by Precious Ivy. Shamira Eaton is the manager.

Also, Kemokai, a freshman from Houston, was named to the All-Tournament team. The 5-3 point guard averaged 15.0 points per game as the Apache Ladies finished 2-1 in the tourney and advanced to the quarterfinals, one game short of the Final Four.

Tillis-Jones, who led the Apache Ladies to a 30-6 record, is also a finalist for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) inaugural Pat Summitt Trophy.

The winner of the Junior College/Community College Coach of the Year will be announced during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel’s Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four® in Nashville, Tenn.

NJCAA Awards

Most Valuable Player — Adut Bulgak (F), Trinity Valley.

Coach of the Tournament — Elena Lovato, Trinity Valley

All-Tournament Team

Fatima Adams (F) – Blinn

Evelyn Akhator (F) – Chipola (Fla.)

Adut Bulgak (F) – Trinity Valley

Victoria Kemokai (G) – Tyler

Tiffany Lewis (G) – Chipola (Fla.)

Deborah Meeks (G) – Trinity Valley

Roddricka Patton (G) – Trinity Valley

Jamie Patrick (G) – Hutchinson (Kan.)

Kalani Purcell (F) – Hutchinson (Kan.)

Jamie Roe (G) – Central Arizona

Simone Westbrook (G) – Northwest Florida State

Te’era Williams (F) – Butler (Kan.)

Alberta Lee Cox Sportsmanship Award — Tyler Junior College Apache Ladies


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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.