As of Feb. 18, the TJC Apache men’s basketball team is riding a solid 18-8 overall record.
TJC started the year with back-to-back conference losses against Trinity Valley Community College and Kilgore College. Since then, they have had wins against Blinn, in a double overtime thriller, Angelina College, Panola College and Paris Junior College while losing to Jacksonville College, San Jacinto and Lon Morris.
“Coming back from Christmas break is tough on any team and we played a really tough schedule when we got back from break,” point guard Mitch Marquis said. “We’ve lost some close games down the stretch so we have been right there in almost every game. Sometimes things just don’t go your way.”
In the meantime, the Apaches are looking to improve.
“We have committed too many turnovers which has caused us to lose some close games that we really could’ve won,” TJC Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Marquis said. “All of the teams we play in our conference are really good.”
Sophomore forward Malcolm Moore, from Iowa City, Iowa, leads the team in scoring for the second consecutive season averaging 15.8 points per game. Also, he leads the team in rebounding at 7.3 rebounds per game.
“Our post guys have done a really good job of scoring inside and playing through contact every game,” Mitch said. “Malcolm, Kader, Alex and Dontae have done a really good job of posting up and being strong down low.”
Another forward, freshman Jaron Nash, has been a huge addition to the Apaches on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Nash, a Waterloo, Iowa native, is the second leading scorer for the Apaches with 12 points per game.
His long, lanky figure allows him to be a big presence as a defender and contributor on rebounding.
“I’ve been getting more used to the system that TJC runs as the season goes on,” Nash said. “We, as a team, want to get better game by game but things are coming along as the games go on.”
At this time last year, the Apaches had the same record.
This year after losing three straight games to Jacksonville College, San Jacinto and Lon Morris, the Apaches pulled off two straight wins against Paris Junior College, whom they also defeated 66-60 earlier in the season, and Panola College, whom they also defeated the first time they played them early in the season.
“Things went our way against a really good Paris team and we pulled out a big win at Panola where it is always a tough place to play,” Mitch Marquis said.
On the other hand, Region XIV continues to be a very wide-open and competitive conference. All nine spots for the regional tournament in March are up for grabs.
“We won’t know how the seeds will be in the tournament till the last week of the season,” Coach Marquis said. “The competition has gotten higher as the season has gone on so we have to become more consistent.”