Roadrunners take game against Blinn College
The Angelina College Roadrunner basketball team could breathe a collective sigh of relief following its win against Blinn College Wednesday, Feb. 13.
AC raced out to a 24-point lead in the game’s first 13 minutes, then had to hold on late to hold off the Buccaneers 69-62 at Shands Gymnasium.
The Roadrunners could do little wrong in the opening minutes, winning seemingly every 50/50 ball and out-rebounding the bigger Bucs’ front line. The lead grew to 26 points at 52-26 with 17 minutes to play in the game.
Then the Bucs got hot, and the Roadrunners cooled off. With 51 seconds to play, Binn’s A.J. Rainey converted a bucket to cut the AC lead to 64-62.
The Runners held fast, however, with Chris Simmons and Hunter Janacek teaming for five consecutive free throws to close out the big conference victory.
Kevin Norman led AC with 24 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Janack finished with 13 points, and the Roadrunner bench outscored the Bucs 23-13.
The Roadrunners stand at 12-13 for the season and 5-8 in district play.
Basketball team wins game
Just four days after dropping a four-point loss to Arkansas Baptist on the road, the Angelina College Roadrunners exacted a measure of revenge by holding off those same Buffaloes 82-70 Saturday, Nov. 17 at Shands Gymnasium.
The Runners broke loose with an 8-0 run late in the second half after the Buffs had managed to stay within at least six points throughout most of the contest.
AC’s Kevin Norman scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. Deedy Gauno also hit for 14 first-half points, including a trio of three pointers, to finish with 20. Walter Prevost hammered his way inside for 13 hard-earned points; and Draylon Brown finished in double figures with 10 points.
Roadrunners win Coca Cola Classic
After leading the Angelina College Roadrunners in scoring with 22 points, Kevin Norman teamed with Runner Walter Prevost for a pair of game-saving defensive plays in the final seconds to allow AC to hold off Southwestern Christian College 76-74 in the opening day of the Lufkin Coca Cola Thanksgiving Classic at Shands Gymnasium Friday, Nov. 23..
With AC leading by a single digit at 75-74, Norman came up with a steal with 30 seconds to play to thwart the Rams’ first attempt to take the lead. Then, with just seven ticks left on the clock, Prevost planted his big body in the lane and forced a Rams shooter to take a bad shot. Norman rebounded, officials called a technical foul on a SWCC player and Norman sealed the win, AC’s third straight, with a free throw.
Norman also finished with 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Draylon Brown added 17 points, going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line; and Yosani Clay chipped in with nine points.
Everything counts now
A noticeable part of the Saturday, Oct. 27 men’s basketball scrimmage against LSU-Alexandria was the non-stop rotation. Nearly every dead ball resulted in a substitution. The strategy is by design: First-year head coach Nick Wade wants his players going pedal-to-the-metal for however long they are in the game.
Wade began preaching this strategy from his initial press conference: All-out effort the entire time a player is on the floor.
At this level, this isn’t the program or the team to show up and say you just played some minutes,” Wade said earlier. “I’ve told them their job is to sell out the second they hit the floor, and when they’re tired, they can ask out, and when they’re ready, they can go back in.
“But if they’re not playing as hard as they can, they won’t go back out. They know that, and they expect it of their teammates. We’re already seeing players calling each other out for not going all-out in practice.”
How well the approach will work was on full display beginning Thursday, Nov. 1, when the Roadrunners opened the regular season at home against Victoria College.
Do not ask Wade or his staff members about any upcoming opponent. Wade, who was part of a Lee College staff that guided the Rebels to a Sweet 16 appearance in the national tournament several years ago, knows such knowledge is virtually useless if one’s own team is not running on all cylinders.
“I’ve already told our guys, if we’re worrying about other teams and what they’re doing, we’re setting ourselves up for failure,” Wade said. “We focus every day on being the best version of us. If we’re doing everything to our maximum abilities, we can be satisfied with whatever the outcome, but I really believe in my heart that if this early effort continues, we’re going to be in good shape for conference play.”
AC wins scrimmage with LSU-A
Angelina College’s Kevin Norman and Draylon Brown teamed for 48 points in the final scrimmage pre-season basketball game against LSU-Alexandria Saturday, Oct. 27, but their defensive play in the final seconds was the difference in the game as the Roadrunners took a highly entertaining 96-94 win at Shands Gymnasium.
With the score knotted at 94-94 and just eight seconds remaining, Norman and Brown pulled off a tag-team steal leading to an LSU-A foul and sending Brown to the free-throw line where he sank both attempts for the two-point Roadrunner lead.
The Generals moved the ball down court looking for the final shot only to have Norman pick up another swipe to secure the win.
Norman finished with 30 points, earning 23 of those in the first half. Brown added 18, getting seven of those from the free-throw line. Walter Prevost finished with 12 points, and Riley Dewitz and Braxton Foreman chipped in with six points each.
AC mens basketball team has first practice of the year
Nick Wade named head coach of Roadrunner Basketball
To find the fifth head men’s basketball coach in the program’s history, Angelina College needed to look no farther than its own bench.
AC has named Nick Wade its new head coach, and in doing so ensured they got a guy familiar with the program, the conference and the community.
Wade spent the past two years as an assistant coach under Kyle Manary, who resigned in May. Before arriving at Angelina College, Wade for three years was part of a Lee College program that set a record for wins in program history. The Rebels in 2013 won the Region XIV conference championship and advanced to the national tournament’s Sweet 16.
In his two years at AC, Wade has been part of a Roadrunner team that earned conference tournament berths in both 2017 and 2018, with the team advancing to the semifinal round in ’17.
Asked about his personal coaching approach, Wade said anyone who watches area high school basketball will recognize his team’s style of play. A regular attendee with his wife Allison at local games, Wade said he’s picked up what he considers the most important trait for any team.
“One of the biggest things I’ve noticed watching games in this area is the grit you see from every player on every team, whether it’s from the bigger or smaller schools,” Wade said. “The way those coaches get the most out of every player is something I want to make sure we do here with our guys. That never-quit attitude applies at any level, and I want our fans to notice it when they come to our games. I want our players to show that same kind of grit.”
As a first-time head coach, Wade knows his first task is to build a foundation, starting with his staff and extending toward getting the right players for his system.
“Sure, we want talent, but we also want to make sure we’re developing our players to be good men,” Wade said. “We live in a great community, where people support each other, and I want our players to feel a part of it while doing their part.”
Wade’s playing career included time at Austin College, where he led the team in three pointers made and in three-point field goal percentage. In 2010, the ‘Roos earned their first 20-win season while winning the SCAC West Division championship.
In his coaching career, Wade has developed more than 20 Division I athletes, three of which went on to professional careers. He’s also spent time coaching in the high school ranks, with stints at Conroe Oak Ridge High School and McKinney Boyd High School.
In a profession known for constant turnover and uprooting families, settling down and growing roots is a challenge. However, Wade said he and his family feel they’re home in Lufkin – and they hope to keep it that way for quite a while.
“I definitely have to thank our administration – Dr. (Michael) Simon, Dean (Steve) Hudman, Coach (Guy) Davis and everyone else on this campus for this chance,” Wade said. “But mostly I want to thank this community for the way it has opened its arms to my family and me. I can’t wait to see everyone at our games.”
Deedy Gauno hit the game’s first bucket 17 seconds into the game
Angelina College’s Deedy Gauno hit the game’s first bucket 17 seconds into the Roadrunners’ basketball game Tuesday, March 6 during the opening round game of the Region XIV conference tournament in Jacksonville.
For the next 39 minutes and 17 seconds, the Roadrunners refused to give up that lead.
The 12th-seeded Roadrunners pulled off the big, first-round upset, knocking out No. 5 seed Paris College 73-68 at John Alexander Gymnasium in Jacksonville.
An extremely patient Roadrunner offense earned the win the hard way: By grinding away time on the clock every time they held the ball. Nearly every AC possession ended with the shot clock winding down toward zero, and the Runners scored just one bucket on a fast break.
The ability to control the tempo worked perfectly with the Runners spreading the ball and taking the open shots. Nylek Cobb led AC with 16 points while Kevin Norman finished with 13. Eight of Norman’s points came on offensive putbacks, as he finished with 11 rebounds to complete a double-double. Gauno added nine points and Angel Bullock eight in the win.
The Roadrunners also hammered the boards for a huge 51-32 advantage against the Dragons. Of AC’s 73 points, 23 came from second chances.
AC’s lead grew to 14 points by early in the second half. However, injuries and foul trouble mounted for the Roadrunners, and Paris fought its way back to close within two points at 70-68 with just 32 seconds to play. Fouling Cobb to stop the clock proved to be a bad move with Cobb converting both free-throw attempts to help eliminate the Dragons. In the final minute, the Roadrunners went 5-of-6 from freebie range.