Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 8, 2014

REGION XIV TOURNAMENT: Survive and advance

No. 1-TVCC beats Jacksonville, 84-73

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

TYLER — The No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley Community College Lady Cardinals survived a ferocious attack by the Jacksonville Lady Jaguars in the semifinal round of the Region XIV conference tournament with an 84-73 victory at UT-Tyler.

“I think Jacksonville came out with a sense of urgency (in the second half) knowing that their season was about to be over. I thought they played a little more tough in the second half.”

With the win, TVCC is now 31-1 on the year and will face Tyler Junior College tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the Herrington Patriot Center.

Tyler defeated Blinn, 95-83, in the other semifinal contest.

TVCC swept the regular season series over TJC, 93-69, at Cardinal Gym and 89-87 in Tyler.

This will be the seventh straight appearance in the title game for the Lady Cardinals — who defeated Blinn in last year’s contest, 69-58.

This year, TVCC and Tyler advance to the national tournament in Salina, Kan. the week of March 17-22.

The Lady Cardinals advanced after winning the regular season title.

“Regardless of who we get, we are going to get either teams best shot,” Lovato said. “We have the X on our back and we have to take it personal and play together as a team.”

The Lady Cardinals looked to be in control of the game after the first 20 minutes of play as they jumped out to a, 54-34, lead over Jacksonville.

Trinity Valley was shooting lights out as they connected on 62-percent of their shots from inside the lane.

TVCC sophomores Adut Bulgak and Shlonte’ Allen combined for 30 points in the first half.

With 13:05 remaining in the first half, Allen found Bulgak for the easy jumper to give them a 22-15 lead.

Another spark for the Lady Cardinals came courtesy of Autummn Williams — who picked off a Jacksonville pass and glided to the rim for two of her 11 first-half points. Williams finished the game with 11 points, three steals, one assists and two rebounds.

With TVCC finding ways to contain Jacksonville’s Devanyar Workman in the first half, sophomore Yvonne Maosa was finding ways to score. Maosa scored 18 of her team high 23 points in the first half.

With 4:16 remaining in the half, she found a way to slice her way through the TVCC defense and connected on a layup to cut the deficit to 40-28.

Workman was held to five of her 19 points in the first half.

“I know that Devanyar Workman is a special player,” Lovato said. “We always try to keep her under control and when that happens we give and take. We just had a hard time adjusting and Jacksonville did a great job of knocking down shots tonight.”

In the second half, Jacksonville was able to cut into the deficit and got to within nine points at, 79-70 with four minutes remaining as Allison Moore converted the easy layup.

“I called a timeout to let the girl’s know that we have a lot of talent but everybody needs each other if we are going to win a national championship,” Lovato said.

TVCC was able to ice the game with 3:05 remaining as Bulgak found Leashja Grant and then Bulgak found Roddricka Patton for the final score of the game with 2:12 remaining.

Bulgak led TVCC in scoring with a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. She also had six assists,two blocks and one steal.

Allen and Patton finished the game with 14 points each. Allen also had four rebounds, three assists, one block and two steals. Patton added eight assists, one block and one steal in the win.