TJC continues hot streak with sweep


The Tyler Junior College basketball teams remained hot, sweeping a doubleheader with Lon Morris on Saturday before more than 1,000 fans at Wagstaff Gymnasium.

The Apache Ladies avenged an earlier defeat to the Lady Bearcats with an 86-66 win, their seventh straight victory.

The Apaches followed with their fourth consecutive win, a 65-58 triumph over the Bearcats.


Five Apache Ladies scored in double figures, topped by 22 points from Markisha Hawkins.

Other top scorers for TJC were Ericka House (16), Cecilia Okoye (14), Shawnee Johnson (12) and Kirbi Clark (10).

Since dropping an 88-75 decision to LMC in Jacksonville on Dec. 3, the Apache Ladies have won 11 of 12 contests. Their only loss was in overtime to top-ranked and undefeated Trinity Valley in OT.

 “I thought we played team ball,” said TJC coach Trenia Jones, whose club improved to 18-5 overall and 9-2 in Region XIV. 

“Continuity was big. When we substituted we played the same — we didn’t lose anything.”

Okoye led the Apache Ladies with eight rebounds, while House added seven. Clark and Hawkins each had two blocks, while Ashley Benjamin and Okoye had one apiece.

Three Lady Bearcats (15-8, 7-4) scored in double digits — Demetria Foreman (13), Whitney Wilson (13) and Byronesha Santiago (13).

Wilson had seven rebounds, while Dominique Edwards had five.



TJC used a balanced scoring attack, led by Ta’Jon Welcome (11 points) and Trent Washington (10), to secure the win over the Bearcats.

Trevor Berkeley was clutch for the Apaches at the free throw line, hitting 7 of 8 attempts, all in the second half. Overall the Apaches were 14 of 17 from the charity stripe, the same as Lon Morris.

Berkeley and Jaron Johnson each had nine points and Tyler Brunson and Hersey Robinson added seven apiece for TJC.

The Apaches bolted out to a 34-16 lead only to see the Bearcats trim the lead to 34-26 at halftime.

“They hit some threes in the first half (two by Kyle Preston and one by Aaron Olvera) when we had a chance to expand the lead; and it kept them in the game,” said TJC coach Mike Marquis, whose team is 14-6 and 7-4.

Eventually, the Bearcats tied the game at 41-41 with 12:07 remaining in the game after a trey and two-pointer by Leo Vrkas.

But each time Lon Morris made a run, the Apaches would answer.

The Bearcats (12-10, 5-6) scored five straight again to pull within 55-54 with two minutes remaining.

But the Apaches were patient and worked the ball around until Washington drained a 3-pointer at the 1:34 mark for a 58-54 advantage.

Tyler Brunson then swiped the ball on the LMC possession at the 1:15 mark. Brunson then scored and was fouled for a three-point play and a 61-54 lead with 50.2 left, basically clinching the game.

Preston, who was in foul trouble for much of the game and fouled out with 4:16 remaining, led the Bearcats with 15 points. Vrkas (12), Reid Burke (10) and Nate Velasco (10) were also in double figures for Lon Morris.

“We played hard and the effort was there, but we made back-to-back mistakes when the game was close,” LMC coach Dale Dotson said. “Mike’s got a good club that defends well and shoots well.

“We just need to try and get better and get into the (postseason) tournament.”

Johnson led Tyler with nine rebounds and a block, while Brunson and Chris Coleman had five apiece.

“Our depth was a key,” Marquis said. “Tyler, Trevor, Chris Coleman and Hersey Robinson all played well off the bench.

“We feel fortunate to beat a good ballclub.”

Marquis added Berkeley’s extra work paid dividends.

“Trevor put in the extra time at the free throw line,” Marquis said. “That sends a message to the remainder of the team — ‘what can I work on to get better.’”

NOTES: Former Dallas Mavericks Rolando Blackman, a four-time NBA All-Star who scored more than 17,000 points, was in attendance to watch his son, Vernell Blackman, play. The younger Blackman is a 6-6 forward who graduated from Canarsie High School in Brooklyn, NY.  … The Apache Belles and Belle Babes performed at halftime of the men’s game. … TJC sophomore Jasmine Davis sang the national anthem.


Tyler 86, Lon Morris 66

LON MORRIS — Meghan Braeuer, 0; Demetria Foreman, 13; Dominique Edwards, 9; La’Doris Conrod, 2; Whitney Wilson, 13; Cha’Zaye Wright, 6; Byronesha Santiago, 13; Arianna James, 9; Allanah Austin, 1.

TYLER — Ericka House, 16; Markisha Hawkins, 22; Amber Ames, 4; Carolina Lopez, 2; Ashley Benjamin, 2; Keaira Arion, 4; Cecilia Okoye, 14; Shawnee Johnson, 12; Kirbi Clark, 10.

THREE POINT GOALS — LMC: Foreman, James. TJC: House (4), Johnson (2).

HALFTIME SCORE — Tyler 42-33.

FREE THROWS — LMC 14 of 18, TJC 14 of 15.

RECORDS — Lon Morris 15-8 (7-4), Tyler 18-5 (9-2).

NEXT UP — Paris at Lon Morris, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; Angelina at Tyler, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.


Tyler 65, Lon Morris 58

LON MORRIS — Kenry Lewis, 0; Kyle Preston, 15; Nate Velasco, 10; David Shepherd Dykes, 0; Aaron Olvera, 5; Leo Vrkas, 12; Terrance Wilson, 2; Ivan Jurkovic, 0; Reid Burke, 10; Vernell Blackmon, 4.

TYLER — Jaron Johnson, 9; Trevor Berkeley, 9; Trent Washington, 10; Tyler Brunson, 7; Hersey Robinson, 7; Kameron LaTouche, 0; Chris Coleman, 4; Ta’Jon Welcome, 11; Winslo Barry, 4; Danile Edozie, 4.

THREE POINT GOALS — LMC: Preston (3), Olvera, Vrkas (2). TJC: Johnson, Washington (3), Robinson, Welcome (2).

HALFTIME SCORE — Tyler 34-26.

FREE THROWS — LMC 14 of 17, TJC 14 of 17.

RECORDS — Lon Morris 12-10 (5-6), Tyler 14-6 (7-4).

NEXT UP — Paris at Lon Morris, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; Tyler at Lee, 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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