The Tyler Junior College basketball teams treated their fans to some thrills Wednesday night at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
In the first game, the Apache Ladies won their 10th straight game and for an encore the Apaches rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit as TJC swept Panola College before about 1,000 fans.
The Apaches, behind Tyler Brunson and Jaron Johnson and an effective second-half defense, scored a 69-63 victory over the Ponies.
In the women’s game, Shawnee Johnson was perfect in six 3-point attempts and five of her teammates scored in double figures as the Apache Ladies defeated Panola , 96-78.
After Panola scored 14-straight points to take a 49-31 lead over the Apaches with 14:42 to go in the game, things looked bleak for TJC.
Instead, Tyler coach Mike Marquis and his Apaches remained calmed and turned up the intensity.
“We played with each other for about 30 minutes and we played for each other about 10 minutes,” said Marquis, whose club improves to 15-8 overall and 8-6 in Region XIV.
The Ponies (7-17, 1-13) were shooting lights out until Marquis changed his defense and the Apaches started making plays.
“Ta’Jon (Welcome) and Tyler (Brunson) came off the bench and made some plays and Abur Nur made a couple of plays,” Marquis said as the Apaches made their comeback.
He added the triangle and two defense was a key and “we rebounded well out of it, which is usually out of that defense normally.”
Marquis noted Panola played very well in the first half and the Apaches behind Johnson and Brunson down the stretch made the plays.
Brunson come off the bench to lead Tyler with 17 points, while Johnson added 16. Hersey Robinson pitched in 11 points. Issac Mack led the Ponies with 19 points, while JaRon Demark had 13.
Panola was 7 of 10 from the 3-point line in the first half, but made only 3 of 10 in the second half.
The Apaches gradually worked back into the game and finally tied it at 61-61 on four-straight free throws as Welcome was fouled by Robert Lee on a drive to the bucket. Lee was called for not only the foul, but a technical as well. Johnson made the technical free throws and Welcome added both free shots to knot the game with 2:58 to go.
A free throw by Brunson at 2:29 put Tyler up by one, 62-61, and Daniel Edozie added a charity toss for a 63-61 advantage with 1:57 to go.
After Edozie stole an inbounds pass, the Apaches worked the clock down and Welcome swished a 3-pointer for a 66-61 lead with 57.7 on the clock. From there TJC closed out the win.
TJC plays at Navarro on Saturday.
Johnson hit for 22 points, while Ashley Benjamin and Keaira Arion added 13 apiece as the Apache Ladies built an early lead and maintained the advantage for the 10th consecutive victory.
“After each win I get more and more nervous,” said Jones, whose club is 21-5 overall and 12-2 in Region XIV. “I get anxious because you always know a streak has to come to an end. Of course, we are hoping and praying it doesn’t end.”
Despite Panola being in the lower portion of the league, the Apache Ladies came out with intensity.
“We knew Panola could flat out shoot,” Jones said. “We kept making some tough turnovers, but we played well at times. I was glad to see (Shawnee) Johnson have a good game.”
Also in double figures for Tyler were Markisha Hawkins (11), Cecilia Okoyo (11) and Ericka House (10).
Oditte Odisho led the Fillies with 25 points, while Chastity Taylor (13) and Lanese Bough (12) were also in double digits.
Okoye, Kirbi Clark and Arion each had seven rebounds for Tyler.
The Apache Ladies are off Saturday and return to play on Wednesday at Jacksonville College.
Region XIV Basketball
Tyler 96, Panola 78
PANOLA — Jasamine Beard, 6; Chastity Taylor, 13; Catarina Jones, 6; Lanese Bough, 12; Oditte Odisho, 25; Atoe Jackson, 9; Elizabeth Handy, 1; Rebecca Kolawole, 6; Ashley Pickering, 0; Mykia Jackson, 0.
TYLER — Ericka House, 10; Markisha Hawkins, 11; Amber Ames, 4; Carolina Lopez, 6; Ashley Benjamin, 13; Keaira Arion, 13; Tayshia Hunt, 2; Cecilia Okoyo, 11; Shawnee Johnson, 22; Kirbi Clark, 4.
HALFTIME SCORE — Tyler 48-27.
THREE-POINT GOALS — PC: Taylor, Odisho, Kolawole. TJC: House (2), Johnson (6).
FREE THROWS — PC: 23-29. TJC: 18-26.
RECORDS — Panola 9-17 (3-11), Tyler 21-5 (12-2).
NEXT UP — Paris at Panola, 2 p.m. Saturday; Tyler at Jacksonville, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Tyler 69, Panola 63
PANOLA — JeQuan Smith, 4; Robert Lee, 7; Cortney Pitts, 0; Siddiq Smith, 4; JaRon Demark, 13; Issac Mack, 19; Zieyik Estime, 8; Alonzo Murphy, 4; Lonnie McElwain, 4.
TYLER — Jaron Johnson, 16; Trevor Berkeley, 1; Trent Washington, 8; Tyler Brunson, 17; Hersey Robinson, 11; Kameron LaTouche, 0; Chris Coleman, 4; Ta’Jon Welcome, 4; Abid Nur, 0; Winslo Barry, 0; Daniel Edozie, 3.
HALFTIME SCORE — Panola 39-31.
THREE-POINT GOALS — PC: Denmark (3), Mack (5), Estime (2). TJC: Johnson, Washington (2), Brunson, Robinson (2), Welcome.
FREE THROWS — PC: 11-13. TJC: 23-34.
RECORDS — Panola 7-17 (1-13), Tyler 15-8 (8-6).
NEXT UP — Paris at Panola, 4 p.m. Saturday; Tyler at Navarro, 4 p.m. Saturday.