Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

March 6, 2013

Navarro Hoops: Bulldogs back on track as they try to get back to Hutch

Navarro opens regional tournament against Lamar State

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Fresh off a momentum-turning victory over Trinity Valley, the Navarro Runnin’ Bulldogs departed for Tyler late Wednesday afternoon a calm and collected group.

Mentally, the Bulldogs appear to be back where they want to be with three wins in three nights needed at the Region XIV Tournament. That if Navarro wants to get back to Hutchinson, Kan. for the fourth time in five seasons.

“We’ve got our confidence back,” sophomore guard Princeton Onwas said. “We needed that Trinity Valley win to get back on track.”

Navarro (23-7) won at Trinity Valley on Saturday, 67-56, putting an end to a two-game losing streak that kept the Bulldogs from having a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament already wrapped up.

It gives Navarro a head of steam going into Thursday night’s quarterfinal game against Lamar State-Port Arthur. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. at UT-Tyler (KAND-AM 1340).

Lamar State (21-10) has some momentum of its own after Tuesday’s 90-68 victory over Paris. The Seahawks and Bulldogs played in the regional semifinals last season, a game Navarro won.

The teams played a thrilling game this season. Navarro survived at home, winning 81-79 in overtime. Freshman Toney Foster made an 18-footer at the buzzer to win the game on his birthday.

 Foster had 15 points in that victory. He’s been one of Navarro’s most consistent scorers down the stretch, boosting his scoring average to 9.3 points per game.

“I feel like I’ve been playing my best basketball when it counts,” Foster said.

The key to dealing with Lamar State is stopping its guards. It’s a tall order. Ty Allen and Tre Bennett combined for 37 points in Tuesday’s victory over Paris.

“We have to stop them on the perimeter with their guards,” Onwas said. “We have to get back on defense. We can’t allow easy baskets.”

Region XIV Basketball Championship Tournament

Tuesday-Saturday, UT-Tyler

Tuesday’s Men’s First Round Games

Game 1: No. 8 Trinity Valley 84, No. 9 Angelina 71

Game 2: No. 5 Lee 76, No. 12 Blinn 73

Game 3: No. 7 Lamar State 90, No. 10 Paris 68

Game 4: No. 6 Tyler 66, No. 11 Coastal Bend 53

Wednesday’s Women’s Quarterfinal Games

Game 5: No. 1 Trinity Valley 87, No. 8 Tyler 47

Game 6: No. 4 Angelina 68, No. 5 Panola 64

Game 7: No. 2 Blinn vs. No. 7 Paris, late

Game 8: No. 3 Jacksonville vs. No. 6 Kilgore, late

Thursday’s Men’s Quarterfinals

Game 9: No. 1 Kilgore vs. No. 8 Trinity Valley, 1 p.m.

Game 10: No. 4 Jacksonville vs. No. 5 Lee, 3 p.m.

Game 11: No. 2 Navarro vs. No. 7 Lamar State, 6 p.m.

Game 12: No. 3 San Jacinto vs. No. 6 Tyler, 8 p.m.

Friday’s Men’s and Women’s Semifinals

Game 13: Women’s — No. 1 Trinity Valley vs. No. 4 Angelina, 1 p.m.

Game 14: Women’s — Blinn-Paris winner vs. Jacksonville-Kilgore winner, 3 p.m.

Game 15: Men’s — Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 6 p.m.

Game 16: Men’s — Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s Championship Games

Game 17: Women’s Championship Game, 3 p.m.

Game 18: Men’s Men’s Championship Game, 6 p.m.