TYLER, Texas – The Blinn Buccaneers are headed to the Region XIV championship game.
Blinn defeated Jacksonville 75-62 here Friday afternoon to reach the conference tournament finals for the first time since 2008. It was just another accomplishment in a season that has seen the Buccaneers set a new program single-season wins mark and coach Jeff Jenkins become the winningest coach in team history.
The Buccaneers will now face Trinity Valley in the championship game at 3 p.m. Saturday. Trinity Valley, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation, defeated Angelina 92-53 in the other semifinal game.
"We're finding ways to win," Jenkins said. "We're still turning the ball over too much, but we're shooting well from three and when the game's on the line, we just find a way to win. We're not blowing teams out, we just find ways to win the game at the end."
It was Blinn's third victory over Jacksonville this season, but just like the other two, the eighth-ranked Buccaneers had to battle to claim victory. Jacksonville led 36-34 at halftime, and the first 10 minutes of the second half went back and forth.
The turning point came shortly after Khadijah Carter, the conference's second-leading scorer with 18.9 points per game, went down with an injury and had to be taken to the hospital after she lost consciousness. The teams later received word that Carter was OK.
Trinity Valley scored the first five points after play resumed, but the Buccaneers responded with a 15-0 run that proved the difference. Sophomore forward Audrisa Harrison, who finished with 11 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer with 8:11 remaining to give the Buccaneers the lead for good.
Blinn shot 10-of-21 from beyond the arc.
"We shot the three really well," Jenkins said. "Aarika Reyna got hot in the second half and so did Jazzmin Parker."
Freshman forward Fatima Adams led the Buccaneers with 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Parker finished with 15 points while making 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Reyna scored 10 points, Moe Bedford added nine and Tierra Tucker scored eight.
DevanyarWorkman led Jacksonville (18-14) with a game-high 18 points. Carter and Jasmine Robinson each scored 13.
Audio streaming of the Region XIV championship game will be available at www.region14hoops.com.