TYLER — So-o close. Again.
For the seventh consecutive meeting and eighth in nine between Navarro and Tyler Saturday’s outcome was determined in the final few nail-biting seconds.
Trailing by five points during the final :14, Navarro got a three-pointer from Dravon Clayborn and intercepted the inbound pass, but missed a potential game-tying bucket as Tyler slipped out of Wagstaff Gym with a 67-65 Region XIV win.
Tyler (21-1 overall and 13-1 in East Zone play) now has a four-game East Zone lead over Navarro, Kilgore and Panola as the three teams now are deadlocked in a second-place battle for tournament seeding.
TJC snapped Navarro’s three-game winning streak while remaining unbeaten after 12 games at Wagstaff this season.
Akol Mawein’s 25 point-11 rebound double-double paced Navarro.
Brian Washington contributed his own double-double, scoring 11 points and bringing dow a dozen rebounds in the loss.
Mawein, averaging 26.5 over his last four games, turned in his second double-double in league play.
Washington, the field-goal percentage leader in Region XIV and the NJCAA, produced his fourth double-double of the year.
Souleymane Doumbia added 14 points from 7-of-10 shooting, grabbed two rebounds and blocked two shots before fouling out with about four minutes to play.
The first half was a game of extreme runs.
TJC scored the game’s first 12 points, but Navarro responded with a fiery 23-3 run and eventually opened up as much as a 13 point gap (33-20), before the Apaches countered with a 15-2 run to the break.
TJC, out-redounded 37-30, took a slight edge in three-point shooting. The Apaches went 6-for-19 from the arc while the Bulldogs finished 2-for-12 — the second one coming from Clayborn in the waning seconds.
Shahada Wells led four TJC players in double-figure scoring with 21 points.