Short-handed Steers drop third straight


An already-reeling Texas College men’s basketball wrapped up a second straight week feeling down and out.

Blake Turner missed an off-balanced 3-pointer at the buzzer and the 24th-ranked Steers dropped their third straight game in a 55-53 loss to the University of St. Thomas-Houston Saturday at Gus F. Taylor Gymnasium.

The latest loss figures to drop the Steers from their month-long stay in the NAIA’s Top 25. The Steers (13-5, 7-4 Red River Athletic Conference) rose as high as No. 10 before battling eligibility issues and injuries, losing their three games by a combined eight points in the process.

The Steers played minus four key players against St. Thomas, two who were recently declared ineligible for the rest of the season — starters Wendell Maye, the team’s leading scorer, and Norman Stewart, their top defender. Both Maye and Stewart, who missed a two-point loss at Wiley and played last week in a four-point setback to Jarvis Christian, reached the maximum number of semesters allotted (10) during the fall, effectively finishing their collegiate careers.

Two key reserves also sat out for the Steers: leading bench-scorer Titus Stevenson and the team’s tallest player, 6-9 senior center Jhirmetrius Cochran. TC continues a tough stretch at home Monday against conferencing-leading and 17th-ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God (15-3, 9-2).

“We’ve called on some guys the last few games to play minutes they’re not accustomed to playing, and it’s showing down the stretch,” Steers coach Marquet Norfleet said after remaining on the sideline several minutes talking to assistants and well-wishers following the defeat.

“We miss a lot with Stewart and his defending and Maye’s scoring gone. At the same time we missed a lot with Stephenson and Cochran out to injuries.”

The Steers struggled finding offense, although a late defensive stand allowed TC to attempt a potential game-winning shot. TC trailed 48-38 with 11:47 remaining before going on a 9-0 run, featuring Jamal Robertson’s 3-pointer, putbacks by Glen Williams and Brandon Lee, and a post bucket by Kerry Jones.

St. Thomas (12-4, 7-3) extended its lead back to seven points (55-48) at the 2:18 mark. Jones knocked down a trey and nailed a jumper falling to the floor to pull TC within two points, 55-53, with 39 seconds left. Deric Dudley missed the front end of a one-and-one and Lee rebounded to give TC a final crack.

Jones, a 6-7 junior and former Robert E. Lee standout, paced the Steers with 18 points and seven rebounds. Turner, another Lee product, scored 10 points in just his third game with the Steers. No other Steers posted double figures.

Caleb Williams netted 16 points to lead St. Thomas. The teams launched a combined 50 shots from beyond the arc and together accounted for just 38 points inside the paint.

“We’ve took some losses,” Norfleet said in an upbeat tone. “But we’re still going to be in the hunt at the end of the day.”

Women

St. Thomas 83, Texas College 77

Amber Arceneaux-Francis fueled St. Thomas with 31 points and 13 rebounds to keep Texas College away.

The Lady Steers led by as many as eight points in the first half, and by four (48-44) with 16:39 left after a putback by Jessica Williams, who finished with 11 points, 18 rebounds and four steals.

The Lady Steers went four minutes without a field goal while the Lady Celts crept back in front by five (54-49) on a mid-range jumper from Arceneaux-Francis.

With the TC deficit at four, Arceaneaux-Francis converted a three-point play to make it 67-60 with 6:13 left. TC never made it a one-shot game down the stretch.

Gaby Guzman and Hershiira Boone-Rodgers scored 17 points each to help St. Thomas (10-8, 6-4) complete a regular season sweep.

Ashli Smith bucketed a team-high 14 points for the Lady Steers (3-14, 2-9), who are in a tie for 10th in the 12-team league.

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Women

University of St. Thomas-Houston 83, Texas College 77

ST. THOMAS (10-8, 6-4 in RRAC)—Hershiira Boone-Rodgers 6-12 3-4 17, Alyssa Kain 0-1 0-0 0, Maghen Ormand 4-12 0-0 8, Gaby Guzman 5-11 5-5 17, Emily Sebo 4-7 2-3 10, Annie Nemmer 0-0 0-0 0, Amber Arceneaux-Francis 13-19 5-7 31. Totals 32-62 15-19 83.

TEXAS COLLEGE (3-14, 2-9)—Keyara Criner 4-10 2-2 10, Shirley McGowen 4-11 2-6 10, Ashli Smith 6-11 2-2 14, Anissia Robinson 2-5 2-2 6, Amber Girdy 0-2 0-0 0, Jasmine Becks 4-10 0-0 11, Jessica Williams 5-13 1-2 11, Lachelle Jones 2-4 0-0 6, Connie Espinas 0-3 0-0 0, Sekeya Roberson 3-11 1-2 7, Reniqua Davis1-3 0-0 2. Totals 31-83 10-16 77.

Haltime—UST 39, TC 38. 3-Point Goals—UST 4-11 (Boone-Rodgers 2-3, Kain 0-1, Ormand 0-3, Guzman 2-4), TC 5-19 (Criner 0-1, Smith 0-2, Girdy 0-2, Becks 3-7, Jones 2-3, Espinas 0-2, Davis 0-2). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—UST 40 (Ormand 12), TC 49 (Williams 18). Assists—UST 20 (Guzman 8), TC 23 (Roberson 9). Total fouls—UST 12, TC 17.

Men

University of St. Thomas-Houston 55, No. 24 Texas College 53

ST. THOMAS (12-4, 7-3)—Barrett Lauer 0-1 0-0 0, Travis Lampley 4-8 2-2 12, Adrian Morales 3-7 0-0 9, Deric Dudley 2-6 2-4 7, Bryan Kaase 3-8 0-0 7, Nate McAnely 1-3 0-0 2, Caleb Williams 7-20 0-0 16, Henoc Jean 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-55 4-6 55.

TEXAS COLLEGE (13-5, 7-4)—Kerry Jones 8-14 1-2 18, Eddren McCain 2-5 3-4 7, 0-0 1-2 1, Hakeem Poles 0-1 0-0 0, Jamal Robertson 2-10 1-2 6, Sherrod Phillips 0-3 0-0 0, Brandon Lee 2-6 1-2 5, Blake Turner 4-8 0-0 10, Glenn Williams 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 21-53 7-12 53.

Halftime—UST 34, TC 22. 3-Point Goals—UST 9-31 (Lampley 2-2, Morales 3-7, Dudley 1-2, Kaase 1-4, Williams 2-15), TC 4-19 (Jones 1-2, McCain 0-2, Poles 0-1, Robertson 1-5, Phillips 0-1, Lee 0-3, Turner 2-5). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—UST 32 (Kaase 7), TC 36 (Jones, McCain 7). Assists—UST 13 (Lampley 7), TC 10 (Robertson 5). Total fouls—UST 12, TC 12.