Rangers feel Bulldog’s bite

JORDAN MOSS
Staff Writer

KC vs. Navarro

KC headed into Wednesday night’s contest ranked No. 18 in the nation with an 18-3 record (8-3 conference). The conference-leading Navarro Bulldogs (17-4, 9-1 conference) were not ranked, but after defeating KC 69-59 there was little doubt they should be.

The Bulldogs started fast on an 11-0 run preventing the Rangers from scoring their first point of the evening until 4:36 had burned off the clock. Navarro led at the half, 36-19.

In the second half KC managed to fight within seven with only 1:06 to play; however, Navarro made sure they would not be overtaken.

The Rangers shot 62 percent from the from the free-throw line, going 31 of 50. Most of the successful free throws came in the second half; the first half saw KC shoot only 12 for 24 from the line.

Sophomore Lonnie McClanahan led KC in scoring with 17, including 13 for 17 from the line. Fellow sophomore Maurice Taylor also had a solid night for the Rangers, contributing 13 points and seven rebounds. The Rangers as a team shot 13 for 39 from the field for 33.3 percent.

KC has played well all season but head coach Brian Hoberecht knows there is still work to be done.

“That was a playoff game tonight; that was a really good playoff game tonight and we’re still learning,” Hoberecht said.

The game should prove a valuable learning experience for the Rangers since Navarro is a good indicator of how tough tournament competition will be.

“There’s some patience involved in developing this thing,” Hoberecht said.

With seven games remaining before the Region XIV Tournament the Rangers will be looking to finish the regular season strong.

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Hoberecht said.

KC now sits at 18-4 (8-4 conference) and will have a bye this Saturday but returns to action 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in Masters Gym as the second part of a double header against rival Tyler Junior College. The game will decide who takes possession of second place in the North Zone of Region XIV.

KC vs. BOSSIER PARISH

The KC Rangers bounced back from Jan. 23 loss with a 67-56 victory over the Bossier Parish Cavaliers on Saturday. The win at home improved KC’s record to 18-3 on the season (8-3 conference).

Sophomore guard Quinton Upshur led all KC players with 26 points, including two late three-point shots to help seal the win for KC.

“He (Upshur) gave us a calming effect…with his playmaking abilities,” Hoberecht said.

KC led for the first 10-plus minutes of the game before Bossier Parish went up 16-15 with 8:10 remaining in the half. The Cavaliers’ advantage was short-lived as the Rangers regained control of the game, taking a 31-26 lead into halftime.

The opening six minutes of the second half saw KC go on an 11-2 run to take control of the game. Bossier Parish showed it would not go quietly and fought back to regain the lead 48-47 with 8:26 to play.

With 3:38 on the clock Upshur hit a three-pointer putting KC up 57-56. The Rangers did not trail again, finishing the contest with a hard-earned 67-56 victory.

“I thought we did some good things. I thought we played a lot better than we did last Wednesday night,” Hoberecht said.

KC vs. Paris

The KC Rangers headed into the Jan. 23 game at Paris Junior College with a 17-2 record (7-2 in conference) ranked No. 15 in the nation. They left with a tough loss, falling 62-58 to the Dragons.

Paris started  fast with a 7-0 run in the opening minutes of the contest and never trailed. Sophomore guard Quinton Upshur  led the Rangers with 18 points. The Dragons out-rebounded the Rangers 40-30, something head coach Brian Hoberecht contributed to being a reason for the Rangers’ defeat.

“Tonight they (Paris) controlled the aspects of the game that had to be controlled,”  Hoberecht said.

The Rangers managed to close the gap to 27-25 at the half; however, Paris opened  the second half on an 8-0 run. Kilgore fought hard and closed within two, 60-58, following a three-point shot by Upshur with 19 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Rangers were forced to begin intentional fouling to prevent Paris from running out the clock. In the end the Dragons hit their free throws and held on for a tough victory.

The Dragons were 16 for 22 from the charity stripe while the Rangers went 14 for 26.

Rebounding and free throw issues plagued the Rangers.

“This is going to give us something to get better at and hopefully we take advantage of it,” Hoberecht said.

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