The Navarro Runnin’ Bulldogs are a young team, so seeing them get stuck in idle, as coach Johnny Estelle described it, a couple of times in Tuesday night’s 70-57 victory over Hill College was hardly surprising.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs more than made up for a few offensive ruts on the defensive end, challenging shots and showing a determination that clearly won over the home crowd in Estelle’s first game as head coach at the K. and Ida Wolens Center.

There were blocked shots. There were 24 turnovers by Hill, many of them forced by Navarro’s perimeter defense. And the Rebels only scored 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half as Navarro shot out to a 60-40 lead.

“Defense is what separates you from 50 percent of the teams in America at any level,” Estelle said. “You have to be able to guard people. Execute and guard.”

The Runnin’ Bulldogs didn’t execute all the time on the offensive end Tuesday night. They led 28-14 with 8:04 left in the first half. Navarro had a stretch where it had four missed shots, three turnovers and two missed free throws late in the first half.

Navarro (2-0) also was outscored 13-4 after taking the 60-40 lead, again having trouble with turnovers and poor shot selection.

“We just have to get a good feel for each other and keeping playing together,” said guard DeAndre Brown, who led Navarro with 13 points. “And we just have to keep getting the W’s.”

Still, for a few ruts in the court Tuesday night the Runnin’ Bulldogs showed tremendous potential. Navarro is a deep basketball team -- seven players scored at least six points.

Brown had nine points in the first half as he helped the Runnin’ Bulldogs get off to a good start. Sophomore point guard Charleston Flemming, who is back after sitting out last year, had 8 of his 11 points in the second half. He hit two 3-pointers.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs used their fouls — Chase Harper and Keithtrick Denson both fouled out — and they scored in the paint. Jourdan Allou and Nathan Murray both scored their six points going to the rim.

As the Runnin’ Bulldogs closed Tuesday night’s game out, it came by driving to the basket. Denson and Harper both had crucial points down the stretch getting to the basket.

That attitude should help the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ offense catch up to the defense in quick fashion this month.

“It’s part of the game,” said Estelle of the ups and downs on offense. “You just have to keep working at it.”


Todd Wills may be contacted via e-mail at

Hill (1-1) 28 29 57

Navarro (2-0) 36 34 70

Scorers: Hill: Quincy Owens 18, Clark Monterale 11, Henry White 7, Kelian Ollor 7, Eric Tisby 4, Pierre Rodriguez 4, Mike Aikins 3, Rockeem Henderson 3.

Navarro: DeAndre Brown 13, Charleston Flemming 11, Matt Pressey 8, Darian Thibodeaux 7, Chase Harper 6, Jourdian Allou 6, Nathan Murray 6, Paul Crosby 4, Keithtrick Denson 4, Gary Talton 3, Greg Shyne 2.

3-pointers: H: Henry White (1), Rockeem Henderson (1). N: Charleston Flemming (2), DeAndre Brown (1), Gary Talton (1), Darian Thibodeaux (1).

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