The No. 19 KC Rangers, (25-4, 15-4 conference), punched their ticket to the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament with a 70-62 victory over Tyler Junior College Saturday.
KC locked up the Region XIV regular season championship in a game that included 16 lead changes. The Rangers were out shot from the field by TJC 42.9 percent to 41.5 percent but won the battle on the glass, 33-27.
Points off turnovers were a big factor as KC had 22 to TJC’s six. The Rangers also won the battle for second-effort points, 16-2, and the three-point battle, 21-12. KC shot 79.2 percent from the foul line helping them to hold off TJC.
Quinton Upshur led KC in scoring with 22 while Nardie Bogues added 11, including going 9 of 11 from the foul line.
Head coach Brian Hoberecht spoke highly of his team following the victory.
“I can’t say enough good things about our guys today,” Hoberecht said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to our guys for not getting distracted.”
Hoberecht remains focused on the next task at hand despite the joy of going to the national tournament.
“I want to stay focused on the region tournament,” Hoberecht said. “As far as going to Hutch, that’s just icing on the cake right now.”
The Region XIV Tournament begins Wednesday. After securing a first round bye, KC will play 1 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the Herrington Patriot Center on the University of Texas-Tyler campus. The Rangers’ opponent will be the winner of Tuesday’s Angelina vs. Trinity Valley game.