By Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun
It came like an avalanche, all at once, all-too fast and far too furious.
But they loved it.
Absolutely loved it.
And not just the Navarro players, who took over Wednesday’s game against Bossier Parish with a wild and incredibly entertaining 13-0 run that ignited their 97-62 win.
Sure, the Bulldogs, who were leaping almost as high as the fans in the stands loved it, but the fans loved it just as much.
The run came midway in the first half, and included four dunks, a big 3 and a fastbreak lay-up from Chris Boleware, who probably thought about trying to dunk it before dropping it in the old-fashioned way.
And oh yes, the run also included two monster blocks by Neville Fincher, whose first block was so resounding it seemed to deflate Bossier and ignite the 13-0 run.
Now that’s entertainment.
“Neville came off the bench and two monster blocks and that just got everyone going,’’ said Navarro’s Jamar Goodwin, who slammed in the final dunk of the run to make it a 31-22 game.
The Bulldogs made just 5-of-18 shots from the floor over the first 11 minutes of the game and were trailing 22-18 when they went on the dunk-a-thon. Toney Foster started the sprint with a 3 to close to 22-21, and then DaShawn Robinson made a steal and a coast-to-coast drive that ended with a two-fisted slam to give Navarro a 23-22 lead. Then Fincher shook the crowd and Bossier with a slam of his own (not a dunk but a statement block) and before the crowd could stopping oohing, Foster was at the other end of the floor slamming in an alley-OOP dunk and a 25-22 lead.
Navarro’s press forced another turnover and wham-bam-slam came Duan Wright with yet another dunk. Then Boleware, who is 5-11, opted for the lay-up, but the fans — and the Bulldogs — were both 10-feet off the ground by then.
Navarro’s press pulled off another steal (there were four Bossier turnovers in the run) and Goodwin slammed home a 31-22 lead.
“Energy, energy, energy,’’ said Goodwin when he was asked about just what happened during the run.
The Bulldogs took the momentum from that run and after making only five shots in the first 11 minutes, made 11-of-19 in the final nine and went to halftime leading 35-28.
The hot-hand and avalanche that gave them the lead seemed to just wake up the Bulldogs, who opened the second half on fire.
Mike Daniel-Hagen and Shannon Lilly hit back-to-back 3s to start the second half and Navarro made 10 of its first 11 shots from the floor, including three treys and before you could say good-night Bossier, it was a 60-31 game.
Now that’s entertainment.
“We started out sluggish and then the energy went through the roof,’’ Navarro Coach Michael Landers said. “We started getting deflections and steals and (Fincher) had two blocks and it changed the game. We started running and got some shots. Before that, they had controlled the tempo of the game. That run just took their momentum from them.’’
Then came the second half.
“You know, we only led by six at halftime,’’ Landers said. “But we got some good looks in the second half ad we hit open shots. Our kids played with confidence in the second half.’’
By the time it was over, a dozen Bulldogs had scored and Navarro had slammed home eight dunks. Foster led the way with 14 points and Goodwin and Robinson each dropped in 13 points. Troy Jones, who was a force inside, scored 11 and Lilly scored 11 from the outside as five Bulldogs reached double figures. Wilbert Thomas led the Cavaliers (2-7 in Region XIV and 4-15 overall) with 22 points.
Most of Navarro’s games have been close, including Saturday’s tough 75-72 loss at Paris, but Landers’ kids bounced back with one of their most impressive offensive showings of the year and are now 7-3 in Region XIV and 14-7 for the year. It was their seventh win in their last nine games, and probably the most fun.
“Sometimes you need a game like that,’’ Landers said.