JACKSONVILLE, TX -- It just wasn't the Lady Rangers' day. Kilgore College (21-11) came out flat against a potent San Jacinto offense and played catchup the entire game, narrowly losing the Region XIV Championship to the San Jacinto Lady Gators, 66-58.
With the win San Jacinto will advance to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament beginning March 29 in Lubbock. This was the Lady Rangers' second year-in-a-row to make it to the Region XIV Championship Game under the third year of head coach Anna Nimz.
KC got to within five points with 3:40 left in the contest when Jade Thurmon, who was named conference MVP after the game, nailed a three-pointer.
But that was as close as KC would get. San Jacinto answered with a quick jump shot followed by a KC turnover.
On the next possession, Alicia Mardis stole a Lady Gator pass and drove the ball the length of the court to get within five points again, 58-53, with 2:30 left in the game.
After a traveling call on San Jacinto and a foul called on KC, Alexis Bryant hit two free throws to put the Lady Gators ahead by seven, 62-55, with 1:29 left in the game.
KC and San Jacinto traded missed shots followed by a quick drive and layup by Thurmon to make the score 62-57 with 34 seconds left.
The Lady Rangers then had to play the foul game and San Jacinto hit both free throws to put the Lady Gators ahead, 64-57 with 28 seconds left in the game.
With 20.2 seconds left, Thurmon was fouled on a three-point attempt and made one-of-two free throws followed by two more free throws at the end of the game by San Jacinto to finish the game with a 66-58 San Jacinto victory.
Thurmon was KC's main offense, scoring 37 points and adding seven rebounds, one block and three assists. She was the only KC player in double figures.
Danielle Meador, who was named All-Conference after the game, scored five points, had five rebounds and two assists.