By GARY STALLARD
Prior to Saturday’s game, Angelina College head coach Nick Wade posed for a photo with long-time Lee College head coach Roy Champagne. Wade spent three years as an assistant coach with the Runnin’ Rebels and credits Champagne with giving him his start in Region XIV basketball – one of the nation’s toughest leagues.
When the ball went up for the opening tip, however, the student was ready to show his mentor just how much he’d learned.
Wade’s Roadrunners made several key plays late to help AC to an 88-83 win Saturday at Shands Gymnasium, giving the ‘Runners their fifth straight win in league play.
Kyron Gibson swiped a big steal with 47 seconds to play, then converted a pair of free throws late to hold off the Rebels. In addition to padding the winning streak, the first-place Roadrunners (13-8, 8-2) with Saturday’s win extended their lead in the South Zone standings to three full games over Lee College.
Travis Henson led the ‘Runners in scoring with 17 points, hitting nine of his 11 free-throw attempts. Christyon Eugene added 14 points and Gibson 10 in the win. Dwight Simon pulled down 11 rebounds as part of AC’s 44-29 edge in rebounding.
The Rebels’ Ishmael Cruz-Paris led all scorers with 29 points. Teammate Keontae White added 24 points.
The Rebels built an eight-point lead in the first half and led by five points by the break, but the Roadrunners responded with a 17-5 run to open the second half. A Cruz-Paris three pointer with 2:54 to play cut the AC lead to 81-80, but free throws from Henson and Riley Dewitz, sandwiched around a Eugene field goal, help keep the Rebels from mounting a final charge.
The Roadrunners travel to Jacksonville College on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.