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Basketball tournament recap

The Apache men’s and women’s basketball teams both posted strong numbers this season and showed post-season potential, but ultimately fell short of playoff success.

The Apache women, who moved up in the NJCAA poll in December to the top five, ended the season with a 22-9 record.

“We just play one game at a time. I don’t even want to look at the playoffs until Panola is over,” said Head Coach Trenia Tillis-Jones.

Yoshica Spears, sophomore forward, stepped up for her team in the regional tournament by crashing the boards, pull­ing up and taking up slack and encouraging her teammates.

Three months ago the Lady Apaches were in fifth place after beating the top three teams in their conference (Blinn, Angelina and Trinity Valley) at least once and had a good chance of reaching second place to qualify for the playoffs.

“You can sit there and try to assume, but you can’t predict in our conference. Our conference is tough,” said Tillis-Jones.

Three sophomores, Yoshica Spears, April Murphy and Chasity Shavers, who saw playoff action last season, stepped up, became dominant and did what they had to do to get to the playoffs.

Over the break, the Lady Apaches gave it all they had in the regional tournament but were unable to post a crucial win against Jacksonville College, ending their season March 9.

The Apache men’s basketball team posted a record of 25-4 led by Coach Mike Mar­quis who racked up his 400th win this season.

“We entered the ranking late in the game,” said Marquis. “Usually there’s not that much room left in the NJCCA polls, but we were able to win a lot of games in a row and that helped us to climb up the charts. I think we’ve been high as 8th so far this year.”

The men won their conference title on March 1 with a 106-78 win over Panola College. Sophomore guard Randall Hamp­ton contributed to the win by passing the ball, stepping up as a point guard and penetrating.

Following a 83-119 loss to San Jacinto College-Central, the team needed a win in the Region XIV quarterfinals to have any hope for a national championship tournament appearance for the first time since 1996. They were unable to find that win however and lost in a tight triple overtime game against Panola and were eliminated from the tournament.

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