A rare Region XIV basketball Sunday matinee entertained fans with two closely fought ballgames.
The home fans excited Wagstaff Gymnasium happy as Tyler Junior College swept the double feature from Paris Junior College. The contests were postponed from Saturday due to a power outage.
In the first game, Apache Lady point guard Sernise Robertson directed the show and was also the star with 35 points as TJC built a big lead and then held on for an 85-77 victory over the Lady Dragons.
The second feature saw the Apaches get a double-digit lead in the second half and then rely on a supporting cast of defense and clutch free throw shooting in an edge of your seat thrilling 65-62 win over the Dragons.
Both Tyler teams are back in action on Wednesday with the men traveling to Bossier City, La., to meet Bossier Parish at 7 p.m., while the women venture south to Houston to play San Jacinto North at 5:30 p.m.
TJC will be home on Saturday as the Apache Ladies meet Jacksonville College at 2 p.m., followed by the Apaches playing Navarro College at 4 p.m.
The Apaches continued their hot streak in the new year, registering their seventh straight win.
But it was a nail bitter.
“I thought both teams slugged it out in the first half and was pleased we had a four-point lead …,” TJC coach Mike Marquis said. “They made a real strong run at us. We broke out to a 51-41 lead, but to their credit, they didn’t quit. We played not to lose and they kept coming at us hard.”
The game was a typical TJC-PJC affair. It was back-and-forth until the Apaches got going, sparked by guard Todd Eaglin.
With the game tied at 40, Eaglin hit a tear-drop bucket as he was fouled and the shot clock was near expiring. His old-fashioned three-pointer put the Apaches up 43-40 with 1:45 to play.
On the next Tyler possession, he drained a 3-pointer for a 46-40 advantage.
After Paris guard Antonio Arnold had a hat trick of misses from the free throw line, the Dragons were called for six players on the court. DeAndre Harris connected on one of the free throw attempts and that was followed by baskets from Daniel Edozie and Trevor Berkeley.
But the Dragons (10-12, 4-7 Region XIV) would not go away.
They pulled within one twice in the final minutes. First Will Ransom made two free throws as Tyler led 60-59 with 1:34 to go in the game and actually had a chance to go ahead after Tyler missed the front end of a one-and-one.
However, tight defense by Berkeley and a rebound by Odunsi gave the ball back to TJC.
Odunsi, the Apaches floor general, swished two free throws and Tyler (16-4, 7-3) was up 62-59 with 32.1 seconds on the clock.
The Dragons worked for a 3-pointer, but Eddie Leal’s trey attempt was an air ball that went out of bounds with 8.3 seconds showing.
Odunsi was fouled again and connected again as Tyler led 63-59 at the 6.7 mark.
Paris hustled down the court and Mike Harmon drained a long 3-pointer with .5 showing.
Edozie was fouled and made both free throws to put the Apaches ahead 65-62. Paris’ 3-point attempt to tie was late and it was off the mark.
Harris led Tyler with 16 points, while Odunsi added 13.
Dale Jones led TJC with eight rebounds and Berkeley had six.
“At the end we made a couple of good stops and rebounds,” Marquis said. “We also made some big free throws.
“Harris hit a big three and Odunsi big jump shot. This will get overlooked, but I thought Todd Eaglin really played well off the bench in a high-pressure game. Jones and Harris are always playing well off the bench, but Todd gave us a real lift.”
The Apaches missed 6-3 guard Ta’Jon Welcome’s double-digit scoring. He will be welcomed back on Wednesday as he has served his two-game suspension for leaving the bench during an altercation in TJC’s 65-61 win over Trinity Valley on Feb. 19.
Robertson was on fire for TJC (9-11, 2-5 Region XIV) as she rarely missed, hitting on 5 of 7 3-point attempts and 16 of 17 from the free throw line.
The Apache Ladies needed every bit of it as Paris rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit to get within 77-73 when Voché Martin connected on two free throws with 2:10 to go in the game.
However, the Apache Ladies’ Adrienne Phillips, Kim Munoz and Robertson played stellar defense to swing the game into TJC column.
Phillips hit four free throws and Bria Emanuel added a bucket to stretch the lead back to 10, 83-73, with 23.8 seconds to go.
TJC coach Trenia Jones was pleased with the effort of her cast and her star in Robertson.
“That kid has been playing tremendous ball for us,” Jones said of Robertson. “She is tenacious on offense. We are having to use her a lot minutes. We are having to put her in the ice tub three days a week in order for her to last until the end of the season. She is having a tremendous freshman year. We lost a lot of sophomore guards who we were expecting big things from. In losing them, Sernise Robertson has stepped up to the plate and wanted to play good basketball.”
Paris (6-13, 1-6) was paced by Shanice Vaughan (17 points) and Ashley Johnson (16 points).
Both teams shot incredible well from the free throw line — Tyler hit 30 of 33, while Paris was 27 of 33.
Phillips (13 points), Blayke Hemmitt (12) and Carolina Lopez (10) were all in double figures for TJC.
Emanuel and Hemmitt each had seven rebounds, while Robertson and Phillips had six apiece.
Region XIV Women
Tyler Junior College 85,
Paris Junior College 77
PARIS — Shanice Hill, 0; Kelsei Ewings, 6; Lea Holt, 2; Shanice Vaughan, 17; Maeghan Scott, 8; Ashley Johnson, 16; Brea Castro-Gambrell, 11; Adriene Small, 4; Voché Martin, 13.
TYLER — Zhane Anderson, 2; Kim Munoz, 0; Sernise Robertson, 35; Blayke Hemmitt, 12; Sierra Henry, 6; Carolina Lopez, 10; Raiosha Preston, 0; Adrienne Phillips, 13; Bria Emanuel, 7.
THREE POINT GOALS — PJC: none. TJC: Robertson (5), Hemmitt (4).
RECORDS — Paris 6-13 (1-6), Tyler 9-11 (2-5).
NEXT UP — Paris at Trinity Valley, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; Tyler at San Jacinto, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Region XIV Men
Tyler Junior College 65,
Paris Junior College 62
PARIS — Antonio Arnold, 16; Mike Harmon, 12; Anthony Adams, 4; Chris Jones, 4; David Tucker, 2; Delvin Dickerson, 5; Eddie Leal, 4; Lamar Walker, 4; Sheldon Yearwood, 7; Morris Mitchell, 2; Will Ransom, 2.
TYLER — Trevor Berkeley, 8; Todd Eaglin, 6; Anthony Odunsi, 13; Chaz Samuel, 0; DeAndre Harris, 16; Sharife Sargeant, 4; Winslo Barry, 0; Dale Jones, 8; Daniel Edozie, 6
THREE POINT GOALS — PJC: Arnold (4), Harmon (2), Dickerson. TJC: Berkeley, Eaglin, Harris (3), Jones.
RECORDS — Paris 10-12 (4-7), Tyler 16-4 (7-3).
NEXT UP — Trinity Valley at Paris, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; Tyler at Bossier Parish, 7 p.m. Wednesday.