It was a typical Tyler-Kilgore matchup Wednesday; and for the fans that means a treat — maybe not so much for the coaches.
In a game befitting the rivalry, freshman post Chris Coleman made key free throws in the finals seconds and also came up with a big steal and rebound as the Apaches held off the Rangers, 67-62, in a Region XIV Basketball Tournament first round game at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
No. 7 TJC (18-12) advances to the quarterfinals to meet No. 2 seed Lamar State-Port Arthur at 6 p.m. Friday. Kilgore ends its season at 16-14.
Four Apaches scored in double figures with Trent Washington leading the way with 14 points. Jaron Johnson and Hershey Robinson each hit 12, while Daniel Edozie chipped in 11. Johnson also had nine rebounds to pace TJC.
Braylon Lazare led the Rangers with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Travis Betran (14) and Fred Mattison (13) were also in double figure scoring.
Tyler led for much of the game, enjoying as much as an 11-point advantage with 5:12 left on a Robinson trey. But in TJC-KC fashion, the game would keep the fans on the edge of their seats.
After Johnson made one of two technical free throw attempts (tech on KC coach Brian Hoberecht) to give the Apaches a 63-57 lead with 1:24 to go, the Rangers rallied. In matter of eight seconds, KC was within one point, 63-62. First, Mattison hit a layup at the 1:12 mark and immediately Lazare stole the inbounds pass, scored and was fouled. After his free throw, TJC’s lead was sliced to one with 1:04 to go.
The Apaches worked the ball around and Washington was fouled on a drive by Tanodrio Bogues. The freshman made the front end of the one-and-one with 57.5 seconds left for a Tyler lead of 64-62. KC worked the ball around and Washington rebounded Lazare’s miss, but the Apaches threw away the ball with 25.8 seconds on the clock.
Once again, KC worked the clock and Bogues drove the lane only to see Coleman snatch the attempted pass.
“I was just trying to bat the ball away so one of their bigs wouldn’t get the ball,” said Coleman, a freshman from Buffalo, N.Y.
After the swipe, Coleman was fouled by Lazare his fifth.
Coleman walked to the line and calmly converted both ends of the one-and-one and TJC had a 66-62 lead with 11.3 seconds to go.
“At the first of the year, I wouldn’t have felt confident at the free throw line,” Coleman said. “But I feel confident now after coach (Mike Marquis) has worked with us in the past couple of months.”
With the four-point Apache lead, Bogues launched a 3-point attempt, but it was off the mark and Coleman rebounded. He made one more free throw for the final of 67-62.
“Coach has told us to play smart and stay focused,” said Coleman, who had six rebounds. “When it got tight, we stayed calm.”
For Marquis, he knew defeating Kilgore a third time would be difficult.
“We feel fortunate to beat a good Kilgore team,” he said. “They were well-prepared and some of their adjustments from game two to three hurt us and some of our adjustments from the second game to the third worked for us.
“(I) thought we played with heart and passion and our depth is starting to show up. I don’t think we shot particularly well at the free throw line (11 of 20, 55 percent), but we made some big free throws when we needed to make them.”
Hoberecht added, “I was disappointed in the loss, but not in the effort of our players. We’ve been in a lot of tight games, but we just couldn’t finish.”
Region XIV Basketball Tournament
No. 7 Tyler Junior College 67, No. 10 Kilgore 62
KILGORE — Jalen Washington, 4; Travis Betran, 14; Ashton Khan, 8; Braylon Lazare, 18; Patrick Gnagbo, 2; Chinedu Amajoyi, 0; Tanodrio Bogues, 2; Fred Mattison, 13; Michael Eneh, 1.
TYLER — Jaron Johnson, 12; Trent Washington, 14; Hershey Robinson, 12; Chris Coleman, 8; Daniel Edozie, 11; Trevor Berkeley, 6; Tyler Brunson, 2; Ta’Jon Welcome, 2; Abdi Nur, 0.
THREE-POINT GOALS — KC 4-18, Betran (2), Khan (2). TJC: 4-11, Washington (2), Robinson (2).
HALFTIME SCORE — TJC 32-25.
FREE THROWS — KC 16-22, TJC 11-20.
TOTAL FOULS — KC 16, TJC 19.
REBOUNDS — KC 32, TJC 27.
RECORDS — Kilgore 16-14, Tyler 18-11
NEXT UP — Tyler vs. No. 2 Lamar State-Port Arthur, 6 p.m. Friday, Wagstaff Gymnasium.