The road to the Region XIV Conference tournament left Lady Ranger basketball fans with motion sickness. The Lady Rangers entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and made their way to the championship game. The first stop was a mission to defeat No. 3 seed Panola. The KC Lady Rangers finished on top 77-74, giving head coach Anna Nimz her 100th win. After losing to the Fillies twice during the regular season, Kilgore (20-10), shut down Panola leaving them with a 23-8 record. This win was a landmark for KC, making it their first win in tournament play since defeating Angelina College in the 2008-09 season. Although the road was bumpy, Lyrik Williams, Crystal, Minnesota sophomore, helped the Lady Rangers by adding 20 points and 15 rebounds. Richelle Velez, Brazoswood freshman, finished with five 3-pointers and a go-ahead layup for 17 points, while Danielle Meadow, Corpus Christi freshman scored 15 and Jade Thurmon, Ferris freshman, scored 13.
The second stop was a nail biter. The fan base grew larger and louder, as they prepared for KC’s match-up against No. 2 seed San Jacinto. The Lady Rangers ended on top with a 64-56 win in overtime. Lady Ranger fans in John Alexander Gymnasium seemed to be on the edge of their seats as Williams carried the team into overtime, scoring the extra points the Lady Rangers needed. Williams went on to score 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. Velez led the Lady Rangers with 22 points, sinking six 3-pointers along the way, followed by Meador with nine points and 11 rebounds. Da’Jah Thompson, Tyler sophomore, with 10 rebounds.
The final destination was the longest haul. As the Lady Rangers met up with former rivals, No. 1 seeded Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals, fans got serious about cheering on their team, borrowing megaphones from the now-defunct KC cheer squad. The goal was to cheer louder than TVCC’s band and cheerleaders. This was a milestone for KC. However it ended in heartbreak with the Lady Rangers falling to the Cards 61-39.
Meador finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals in that game. Williams, Thompson and Velez all added eight, with Williams adding five rebounds, and Thompson pulling down seven rebounds.
Overall, the road to the championship bracket was a challenge, but the Lady Rangers drove hard to the final destination.