By GARY STALLARD
Now comes the toughest part of the college basketball season: A brutal, two-month long stretch of conference games guaranteed to feature plenty of jockeying in the standings as the regular season winds down in late February.
Between now and then, every game will matter. Each season, there are teams left on the outside looking in, knowing a couple of losses in January hurt their chances for a tournament berth.
Angelina College’s Roadrunners take the first step of the winter grind on Friday, as the Roadrunners will host Tyler Junior College in each team’s first conference matchup since the semester break began back in December.
The Roadrunners got in a tune-up game this past Saturday, traveling to Waco to face McLennan College for the second time this season. The Highlanders used a nine-point lead in the first half to hold off a furious AC charge late in taking an 85-76 win. Despite the loss, the ‘Runners showed little rust from the break, with four players scoring in double figures. Walter Prevost led the way with 12 points, Hunter Janacek nailed a trio of three pointers for an 11-point game and Deedy Gauno and Yosani Clay each chipped in with 10 points.
In fact, according to AC head coach Nick Wade, the Roadrunners as a whole looked ready to get back to the action.
“It was a great tune-up game,” Wade said. “We’re still learning how to stay focused for the full 40 minutes, but I thought we looked prepared. We’re ready for the conference grind.”
Wade also noticed improvement from his less-experienced players, a factor that could prove invaluable over the next two months.
“Our freshmen looked a lot more comfortable, and they obviously picked up some stuff over the break. Our younger guys came back more mature and ready to contribute.”
The Roadrunners (7-7, 1-2) and the Apaches (10-2, 2-2) tip off at 7 p.m. at Shands Gymnasium. Fans can watch the action via live stream by visiting angelinaathletics.com.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.