Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 4, 2013

Navarro Hoops: Runnin’ Bulldogs begin crucial stretch of regular season

By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Now things really get important for the Navarro Runnin’ Bulldogs.

Fresh off a 71-59 non-conference victory at Ranger on Wednesday night, the Runnin’ Bulldogs begin a 14-game stretch of league games Saturday against Lamar State-Port Arthur at the Wolens Special Events Center.

Navarro (12-4, 4-1) has two games left against the South Zone — Lamar State (11-2, 4-1) and next Saturday at home against Angelina — before a 12-game run of home-and-home matchups against the six other North Zone teams.

So the most important part of the season starts Saturday night. And the Bulldogs should have momentum after a double-digit win over Ranger.

Sophomore guard Princeton Onwas scored 18 points, making 5 of his 9 3-pointers. The Runnin’ Bulldogs as a team made 9 of 19 3s.

“We did a good job implementing the game plan,” Navarro coach Johnny Estelle said on Wednesday’s win. “They grew up. Ranger is a tough team. They do a lot of changing defenses and our guys did a good job of handling it.”

The North Zone looks to be competitive as always with four teams within 1 1/2 games of the top spot. Navarro leads Kilgore (3-2) by a game and Paris and Trinity Valley, each 2-2, by 1 1/2 games.

And don’t forget there’s the carrot of an automatic berth to the national tournament to the Region XIV regular season champion. Navarro is tied with three other teams, including Lamar State, which the Bulldogs beat in last year’s regional tournament after losing to them in the regular season.

Combine all that’s at stake with the sense of urgency to get better, and these next two months will be high intensity for Navarro.

 “We need to make sure everyone that plays, you can’t have mess ups,” Estelle said. “Roles are being defined and the guys are understanding what they’re doing.”