Blinn weathered Angelina’s valiant rally before flexing its muscles late for a decisive 69-57 Region XIV victory over the visiting Roadrunners on Wednesday at the Kruse Center in Brenham, Texas.

The Buccaneers jumped to 18-1 overall and 6-0 in conference play behind their ninth consecutive victory.

“Tonight, in the second quarter, it looked like we never played before,” Blinn head coach Jeff Jenkins said of a second period that saw Angelina rally out of a 19-4 hole to take a 24-22 lead. “It was turnover after turnover and bad decision after bad decision. But dadgum, in that fourth quarter, we stepped up and made plays and played with some confidence and found a way to win when we didn’t play our best basketball. Angelina is a good team, and any conference win is a good win right now.”

After the Roadrunners ripped off an 18-3 lead to jump ahead with 2:23 left in the second quarter, it took a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Makayla Patterson and a jumper-free throw combo from freshman guard Tianna Mathis to give Blinn a 30-26 halftime edge.

Angelina refused to go away after the intermission, using a 13-8 difference to grab a 39-38 lead late in the third quarter.

“Angelina played great; they played with intensity, and you could tell how badly they wanted it tonight,” sophomore guard Skylar Barnes said. “We just had to come back out and play aggressively to get the lead back, and that’s exactly what we did.”

After battling back to take a 46-43 lead into the fourth period, the Bucs went on a 13-6 burst, capped by a layup from sophomore guard Crystal Smith, to jump ahead 59-49 midway through the period. 

The Roadrunners trimmed the lead to seven twice in the final minutes, but a 7-0 spurt for the hosts, capped by a Smith layup, sealed the victory.

Barnes had a team-high 13 points, while Patterson and sophomore forward Tiffany Tullis tallied 11 apiece. Smith posted nine points.

“We scored tonight, but a lot of this win was our defensive effort,” said Patterson. “We had to make adjustments on defense in the second half and that carried us. Tonight proved that we can’t take any team for granted because anybody can come out here and put on a good showing.”

The Buccaneers will take on region rival and second-ranked Trinity Valley at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, in Athens, Texas.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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