By GARY STALLARD
The Angelina College Lady Roadrunners on Friday advanced to the Region XIV conference tournament championship game with assists from their assistant coach and a big boost from a candy bar.
The No. 14 Lady Roadrunners upset No. 14 Trinity Valley Community College 67-59 in semifinal action at Centenary College in Shreveport, sending AC to the championship game on Saturday.
Trailing for much of the game, the Lady ‘Runners entered the halftime locker room with leading scorer Natasha Mack drained from facing double teams all afternoon. Assistant coach Randy McKelvey suggested a switch moving Mack out from the block and inserting Mia Perkins on the inside.
Perkins responded with an 18-point, 8-rebound effort to complement Mack’s 23 points and 13 boards.
And the candy bar?
“Natasha came in gassed at the half from all the double-teaming she was facing,” head coach Byron Coleman said. “She ate a Snickers from our sack lunches and told me she was ready to go. We really leaned on her in the fourth quarter.”
Coleman added he asked his players beforehand if they were planning to go home after the game or stay for another day. A loss would have left the Lady ‘Runners hoping for an invitation from the selection committee; instead, they’ll attempt to punch their own ticket on Saturday.
“They said, ‘Coach, we’re staying,’” Coleman said. “They’ve been a joy to coach, and they want that trip to Lubbock (the NJCAA Division I national tournament).”
AC’s men tried hard to make Saturday a double-dip for Angelina College teams in the tourney’s finals, but the Roadrunners saw their eight-game winning streak come to an end in semifinals action against No. 1-seeded Navarro College. AC held its own, leading late in the second half before falling 73-64 to end the ‘Runners’ season.
Kevin Norman led AC with 22 points in his final appearance as a Roadrunner.
The Lady Roadrunners (28-3) on Saturday will face Tyler College for the tournament crown and an automatic bid to nationals. Game time from the Gold Dome is 4 p.m. Viewers can watch the live stream by visiting angelinaathletics.com and clicking the “Video” link.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.