LUFKIN, Texas — The underdog #4 seed San Jacinto College women’s basketball team shocked top seed, highly-favored, and nationally-ranked Trinity Valley Community College with an upset 57-52 win in round 2 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIV tournament at Angelina College in Lufkin.
With the win, San Jac advances to the championship round and will play the winner of game 14 that pits #2 seed Blinn College against #3 seed Tyler Junior College. The championship game will be played on Saturday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m.
In the second-round game against Trinity Valley, San Jac trailed for most of the contest, but always stayed within striking distance. Then, late in the final quarter, the team seemed to get a second wind. They pulled ahead 49-48 at the 3-minute mark, and never relinquished the lead.
Trinity Valley (28-3, 19-1 conference record) was nationally ranked for most of the season, and they were supposed to easily defeat San Jac (24-10, 13-7 conference record). They had no problem overpowering San Jac the two times they faced each other during the regular season, beating them 64-47 on Dec. 2, and 67-42 on Jan. 13.
San Jac first-year Head Coach Head Coach Mike Madrid said that although few believed San Jac could win, the players believed in each other, and that was the key to victory.
“I told the players after the game that this big win is the result of all their preparation all season long – the early morning conditioning, lifting weights, the hard work at practices, and so on,” he commented. “They hustled and executed. We are really proud of every player.”
Madrid said the victory proves the truth of the well-known axiom that defense wins in the playoffs. “During the season, Trinity Valley averaged nearly 80 points a game, so to hold them to 52 points shows the importance of defense, and it’s a testament of the quality of our team.”
Madrid was especially proud of the way players made adjustments as the game developed. Sophomore forward Kaelynn Wilson (San Antonio / Karen Wagner High School), the team’s top scorer and most consistent overall player, was uncharacteristically off, scoring only 8 points with a 2-for-11 shooting percentage from the field and shooting 0-for-2 from 3-point range. Two players stepped up and found ways to contribute – sophomore guard Vanessa Jones (Dallas / Flower Mound High School), who was the top scorer with 14 points, and sophomore wing player Kristel Reid (Rosenberg / Terry High School), who scored 13 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
“Basketball is a team sport, and the players rallied around each other,” Madrid said. “It was a tough game, but the bottom line is, we survived again and look forward to seeing what happens in the final round. We don’t like the sound of the word runner-up. We want to win it all”
The winner of the regional tournament advances to the national tournament, set for March 14 through March 18 in Lubbock.
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.