Wednesday Basketball: SFA, AC Women’s basketball pick up key victories

SFA Men fall to Nicholls for first time in 9 years
(AC Athletics)
Published: Jan. 10, 2019 at 12:25 AM CST
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From SFA Athletics

The first meeting between the SFA and Nicholls women’s basketball teams since the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament title game was one that some had circled on their calendars. As it turned out, the matchup turned out to be yet another SFA victory inside William R. Johnson Coliseum, as SFA’s precision passing and strong shooting led them to a comfortable victory over the Colonels to improve to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in SLC play. The Colonels drop to 8-7 overall and 2-1 in Southland Conference play.

TAKING THE EARLY LEADSFA jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the contest thanks to a layup by Imani Johnson and the first of two first-quarter three-pointers by Marissa Banfield. Later, the 'Jacks pulled back ahead of Nicholls with another 5-0 run over the final 2:12 of the first quarter. Banfield’s second trey of the quarter with one minute remaining saw SFA take a 14-11 lead after the first quarter of play.

A NARROW LEAD AT THE HALFTIME BREAK - The Ladyjacks continued the run in the second quarter scoring the first four points of the frame and extending the lead to 18-11 as the Colonel’s scoreless run stretched to 5:27 of game action. After Nicholls struck back with five straight points to close the gap to 18-16, the 'Jacks would narrow outscore the Colonels 9-8 in the remainder of the half to lead by just three at the intermission.

BANFIELD’S BIG NIGHT - SFA began to flex its shooting prowess in the third quarter, knocking down three treys to open the frame on a 13-6 run and prompting a Colonel timeout. Banfield’s fourth trey with 5:29 remaining matched a career-high for the sophomore and opened SFA’s lead to 40-30. SFA’s long-range shooting came through for the home squad in the third quarter, as the Ladyjacks converted on 5-8 attempts from beyond the arc and outscored the Colonels 25-16 in the quarter to lead 52-40 after three.

FOURTH QUARTER FORTITUDEWith a good lead intact, the Ladyjacks kept up the scoring to stave off any hope of a comeback for the visitors. Aaliyah Johnson six of her career-high 15 points in the quarter, overpowering Nicholls down low and helping SFA shoot 64 percent in the frame.

HAYES' MARK ON HISTORY - With her three-pointer with 2:37 remaining in the contest, Chanell Hayes moved into tenth on SFA’s all-time made three-pointers list, passing Brittney Matthew (2011-15) with her 119th made three. TOP PERFORMERSBanfield led all scorers with a career-best mark of 18 points on 6-11 shooting (4-7 3-Pt). Aaliyah Johnson also set a new career-high with 15 points off the bench (7-9 FG), while Stephanie Visscher chipped in 13 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. COACHING QUOTABLES"For the most part we were solid", said SFA head coach Mark Kellogg. “Obviously ups and downs, runs both ways, they didn’t get much going offensively in the first half but I thought we really battled defensively in the first half. We told them at the half to keep defending until we found some offensive rhythm, but defensively they’re pretty good at taking you out of rhythm. Finally we got going, made some shots, hit some threes to distance it and did a good down the stretch to close it out.”

- On holding Southland Conference leading scorer Cassidy Barrios in check:"I thought we did a pretty good job (defensively) on Barrios, but then she stills ends up with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but I thought we did a pretty solid job on her and never let her get comfortable", added Kellogg.

- On totaling 23 assists on 26 made shots:"We got going there a bit in that second half, and that’s our identity to keep the ball moving, find the extra pass and be unselfish", said Kellogg. “That’s a fantastic statistic, I’d love that every night if we could, but I think we still lead our league in assists per game and tonight we were even better than we usually were in that regard.”

- On Chanell Hayes moving into Top-10 list at SFA in career 3-pt made:"I hope she can enjoy that and realize that puts her in an elite group ", said Kellogg. “She’s been a kid from day one that can really shoot it and get going and even the one she made tonight was a big time shot off that dribble. That’s what she’s capable of, she’s a senior that’s been through this and we rely on her in a lot of different ways, but leadership is obviously the main one and when she can relax and just get lost in the game is probably when she’s at her best.”​

UP NEXTThe Ladyjacks will face Northwestern State on Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader with the SFA men’s basketball team. Tip-off for the women’s game is set for 2:00 p.m.

OF NOTE* SFA’s ten made three-pointers in the contest were the most by the Ladyjacks since the 76-34 win over Tulsa on November 24th

. * The Ladyjacks led for 37 minutes of the contest, while the Colonels held the advantage for just 31 ticks of the game clock.

(SFA Athletics)

Kevon Harris went off for a game and season-high 30 points and Shannon Bogues tied things at 71-all by connecting on a driving layup with 1:21 left but Nicholls had the final say as it ended the game on a 7-2 run over the last 1:02 to hand the SFA men's basketball team a difficult 78-73 Southland Conference setback Wednesday night.

Karl Nicholas added 14 and eight rebounds for the 'Jacks who were outscored 18-4 in the game's first 7:31. Forced to climb out of that hole, SFA did take the lead briefly in the second half but Nicholls' free throw shooting late iced things for the home team.

FIRST HALF• Hoping to snap an 11-game losing skid to SFA, Nicholls came out of the gates scorching hot. Jeremiah Jefferson connected on a pair of three-pointers while Daniel Regis finished the Colonels' 18-4 run to start the game with a pair of driving one-handed slams. • Staring a 14-point deficit squarely in the face with 12:29 remaining in the opening frame, SFA reeled off six points in a row to pull within single digits. Nicholas started the move with a nifty post move that resulted in a layup and Harris finished the surge by sinking a pair of free throws with 11:12 left. • Nicholls, however, battled back and went back up by 14, 33-19, after a jumper by Kevin Johnson with 3:52 to go in the stanza. It was then that Harris made a decision to take over. • During the 'Jacks' 8-2 run to close the frame, the junior hammered home a pair of dunks and helped the visitors close to within eight, 35-27, at the horn. • Outside of the Colonels' big run to start the game, the teams finished just about dead even in terms of shooting in the frame. SFA put up a team shooting split of .353/.167/.286 while the Colonels turned in a split of .371/.286/.750. • Harris and Nicholas put in eight each for the 'Jacks while Jefferson (11 points) and Brandon Moore (10 points) combined for 21 of the Colonels' 35 first-half markers.

SECOND HALF• Dissatisfied with their first-half performances, the 'Jacks came out strong in the final stanza. Through the course of the team's 13-4 run during the first 4:48 of the half, Harris flexed his scoring muscle in a big way by putting in nine of SFA's 13 including two of his three long-range hits. • It was the junior's three-point play with 15:12 left that handed SFA its first lead of the night, 40-39. That lead, however, was the only one the 'Jacks claimed. • Right after Harris' three-point play, the Colonels snatched the momentum right back with a 12-3 run over the next 4:28 to take a 51-43 lead. Gavin Peppers netted six during that run while Moore added five. • Needing something to get them going, the 'Jacks against went to Harris who scored six points in a row for the visitors to trim the Colonels' lead to 53-49 with 9:07 to go. • Harris finished off his 30-point effort with another three-point play that pulled the 'Jacks within one, 66-65, with 4:15 left. • Nicholas then went on a personal 4-0 run culminating with a pair of free throw makes to knot things at 69-all with 2:33 left. • After a Moore jumper, Shannon Bogues dropped in a driving layup with 1:21 left to equalize things at 71. Unfortunately, Moore was fouled with 1:02 left and converted both of his tries at the line to put the home team up the rest of the way. • Through the final 1:02, SFA went 1-of-4 from the field and 0-of-2 at the free throw line. The Colonels, meanwhile, went 7-of-8 at the stripe to close things out.

KEY PERFORMERS/STATISTICS OF NOTE• Harris finished one point shy of tying his career high in scoring but did finish with a game-high nine rebounds. • Bogues netted 13 for the 'Jacks to extend his streak of double-digit scoring games to 15. That stretch dates back to the 2017-18 season. • Moore contributed a team-high 25 points for Nicholls while Jefferson and Peppers added 15 apiece. Nicholls shot just 8-of-31 (.258) from long range but went 16-of-20 (.800) from the free throw line compared to a clip of just 9-of-17 (.529) for SFA. • Peppers and Kevin Johnson each dished out seven assists for Nicholls while John Comeaux passed out a team-high four for SFA. • SFA and Nicholls combined to go just 12-of-46 (.261) from three-point range.

COMING UP NEXT• Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., SFA will try to get back in the Southland Conference win column as it returns to William R. Johnson Coliseum to play host to longtime Louisiana adversary Northwestern State. ESPN3 and the ESPN app will carry the action between the 'Jacks and Demons.

(AC Athletics)

From AC Athletics

Byron Coleman is not about “statement” wins.

He doesn’t mind a little confirmation, however.

A day after the NJCAA rankings listed Coleman’s Angelina College Lady Roadrunners as the 14th best Division I team in the nation, the Lady ‘Runners showed they belong with a convincing 86-71 win over No. 16 Tyler Junior College.

With her father – legendary North Carolina Tar Heel, Los Angeles Laker and Dallas Maverick – Sam Perkins on-hand, AC’s Mia Perkins posted a 23-point, 12-rebound night to lead the Lady Roadrunners. Natasha Mack made it a double dip of double-doubles, finishing with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

With both post players posting big numbers, the difference in the contest may have come down to the guard play. AC’s Mia Williams finished with 15 points, and backcourt mates Arianna Gary, Taylor Jacob and Britney Thompson teamed up to knock down five key three pointers to lead the Lady Roadrunners to a 14-1, 3-1 record on the season.

Felmas Koranga led the Lady Apaches with 16 points; Kierra Brimzy added 15 in the loss.

In the late game, the Roadrunners battled back from a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes, but couldn’t get Panola’s Tariq Simmons to miss a free throw. Simmons went 8-for-8 in the final 30 seconds to hold off AC’s late charge and give the Ponies the 83-81 win.

The Lady Roadrunners will play at Bossier Parish College on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Roadrunners (8-9, 2-4) travel to No. 10 Trinity Valley in Athens for a 4 p.m. start.