JACKSONVILLE, Texas – With continued team defense, the No. 1 seed San Jacinto College men’s basketball team eliminated No. 4 seed Angelina College, 72-68, in the semifinal round of the Region XIV tournament, played Friday, March 6 at the Jacksonville ISD gym in Jacksonville.
With the win, San Jac (26-4, 17-2) will face No. 7 seed Tyler Junior College for the regional championship on Saturday, March 7 at 8 p.m. The winner earns an automatic berth to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament March 16-21 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Third-year Head Coach Scott R. Gernander called the match with Angelina a real “dog fight” that San Jac won on the strength of their continued solid team defense. Angelina led 39-34 at the half, and the score was close throughout the contest, with numerous lead changes.
“The real key to the win was our guys holding a talented offensive team to just 29 points in the second half,” Gernander commented. “I am really proud of how they hustled on both ends of the court, but especially on defense.”
In a meeting after the game, Gernander congratulated the players, but told them there is still work to do. “Don’t be too satisfied, we still have to win one more,” he cautioned.
Tyler will present some tough challenges for San Jac because of size advantages. “As a team, they are tall, considerably taller than our guys,” Gernander said. “That means we will need to really play tough the entire 40 minutes of the game. We will not be able to play man-to-man defense, but will have to play zone defense, which will require some adjustments. They have the height advantage, but I feel we have an advantage in quickness.”
San Jac’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Willie Mangum (Richmond, Virginia / Marshall High School / Western Nebraska Community College), came up big in the win over Angelina, scoring 31 points, shooting 11 of 25 from the field, and draining four 3-pointers. For good measure, Mangum grabbed 8 rebounds, had 2 steals, and dished out 5 assists. Freshman forward Candido Sa (Lisbon, Portugal / Colegio Bartolomeou Dias) also had a solid game, scoring 10 points, with 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 3 blocked shots.
San Jac’s men’s basketball team has made 19 national tournament appearances, the last in 2006.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.