By GARY STALLARD
Photos by Daisy de Boer for AC Athletics
The Angelina College Lady Roadrunners kicked off the Angelina Classic in style on Thursday, rallying for a 71-69 upset of No. 18 Odessa College at Shands Gymnasium.
AC’s Derrica Gilbert converted a three-point play with 1:29 to play, giving the Lady ‘Runners a 69-66 lead. Tyeisha Smith added a free throw with 1:05 remaining, but the Wranglers’ Matilda Ahlberg drilled a three to cut the AC lead to 70-69. Another Smith free throw with just 12 ticks left on the clock gave the Lady Roadrunners a two-point lead, and with Odessa winding the clock and playing for a final shot, Lovietta Walker swiped a steal following a Wrangler rebound to secure the win.
All that excitement transpired after the Lady Roadrunners fell behind 10-0 to open the game. Byron Coleman said his team’s offense wasn’t as much to blame as the defense.
“We started blocking out a little better and playing better defense,” Coleman said. “We can’t score if we don’t get stops. Once we got locked in defensively, we started scoring.
“We didn’t get the ball to our shooters as much as we’d like, and we’ve got to do a little better job making that extra pass.”
The upset provided his team a boost after last weekend’s close-but-disappointing loss to the fifth-ranked team (Northwest Florida State) in Tyler.
“It gives us a major lift, especially after losing to the No. 5 team last weekend,” Coleman said. “We’re hanging in there, but everything we’re doing is setting us up for conference play. To come back tonight with a great effort against such a strong team really gives us a big lift.”
Walker and Smith each finished with 22 points to lead AC scorers. Tai’ Porchia added nine points and Simran Mayfield eight.
Odessa’s Geovana Lopes led the Wranglers with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Okako Adika scored 16 points.
Friday’s Day Two schedule includes Tyler Junior College vs. LSU-Eunice at 3 p.m., Panola vs. Odessa at 5 p.m. and the Lady Roadrunners vs. Chattahoochee College at 7 p.m.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is email@example.com.