Apache men’s and women’s basketball had a chance to play in the NJCAA National Tournament but both fell short in Regional’s. Regional’s were held at the Patriot Center March 4 thru March 8.
The ladies, who lost the championship game to TVCC 71-88 came into the Region XIV Tournament as the underdogs.
“This is big for us. Nobody expected us to come this far,” said point guard Latika Smith.
Ladies had their first game of the tournament March 5 against Blinn Junior College. The ladies dominated Blinn as they came up with the victory 67-56, improving their record to 23 wins and 8 losses.
The lady Apaches moved on to play in the semi-finals against Angelina Junior College March 7, and ended the game with an exciting finish. With 12 seconds left in the game, the Roadrunners scored to take the lead by one.
That would not affect the Apaches as they gave the ball to Latika Smith, who took it in for the lay-up that put the Apaches up by one to win the game 76-75.
“I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Trenia Jones, ladies head coach. “I knew that as soon as Angelina scored that our best shot was to give the ball to Latika, and that’s exactly what we did.”
This win would put TJC in the championship game, a shock for those who didn’t believe in the ladies coming into the season.
“This win was big for us. It didn’t only put us in the championship game, but it also proved to everybody who didn’t believe in us that we can do it,” said Smith.
The ladies would move on to play TVCC in the championship game on March 8. Though they would lose, they had many reasons to be proud about their season.
“It’s disappointing to lose the championship game,” said Jones. But what we had to put up with coming into this season, I’m happy with the way we ended and there’s nothing to be ashamed about.”
The Lady Apaches finished the season with 24 wins and 9 losses.
The men, on the other hand, came into the tournament as the No. 7 seed to play No. 10 seed Lon Morris. The game was a pretty even matchup; when in the final eight minutes TJC let a 1- point lead fade away. TJC freshman Malcom Moore would come up with the block that won the game as TJC ended with a two point win 62-60.
“This was an amazing win for us,” said Moore. “Though we started to let our opponents come back, we didn’t give up and that helped us come out with the victory.”
The win would move TJC to play against the NO. 2 seed Navarro. TJC put up a good fight, but the Bulldogs were too much to handle as they knocked TJC off the brackets with a 59-69 win.
“We played hard and gave it our best shot. Navarro just played a better game,” said Coach Mike Marquis, men’s head coach.
TJC men’s basketball team would finish their season with 18 wins and 11 losses.