KILGORE — Precious Ivy’s head coaching debut ended the same way the majority of Trinity Valley’s games have ended for the past two decades.
In the win column.
The No. 7 ranked Lady Cardinals trailed for most of the game, but caught a spark late in the third quarter and pulled away in the final stanza to notch an 85-67 Region XIV Conference win over Kilgore College at Masters Gymnasium on Saturday.
Ivy, serving in an interim basis for the remainder of the season after the resignation of longtime coach Gerald Ewing on Friday due to personal reasons, watched her team struggle early but storm back to improve to 14-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play.
The Lady Rangers saw their modest four-game winning streak snapped to drop to 13-4 and 2-3.
Curtessia Dean led the way for TVCC with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Asia Strong added 18 points, Tiya Douglas 17 and Kaye Clark 13.
Ireneshia Johnson paced Kilgore with 23 points, eight rebounds and an assist. Jada Hood added 11 points, Sarah Matthews nine, Annillia Dawn eight, Kai Finister and Tara Kessner four apiece, Alba Garcia Camarena and Arielle Wilson three apiece and McKenze Brown two.
The Lady Rangers held TVCC to one point in the first five minutes of the game and built as much as an eight-point lead when Finister hit a spinning jumper with 23 seconds left in the opening quarter for a 17-9 Kilgore cushion.
TVCC got to within a point on a triple from Douglas midway through the second stanza, but KC answered with a 3-pointer from Camarena and a layup from Matthews to stay on top.
The KC lead was 34-31 at the half after Makayla Thurman knocked down a 3-pointer for the Lady Cardinals with 1.2 seconds remaining in the half, and that was a sign of things to come for TVCC.
A couple of free throws by Clark tied things at 40, and the score was knotted at 42 before a freebie from Dean gave the Lady Cardinals their first lead since opening the game with a free throw. KC tied it at 43 on one from the charity stripe by Matthews, but Dean hit the next time down the court and TVCC never trailed again.
A turnaround jumper from Kessner eight seconds remaining kept KC close at 56-53, but Douglas drilled a triple at the buzzer to give the Lady Cardinals a six-point cushion heading into the final stanza and KC never recovered.
The lead hit 15 with 5:33 left in the contest (73-58), and KC managed to chip away with buckets from Matthews and Johnson and a long 3-pointer by Johnson to narrow the gap to eight (73-62), but two free throws by Dean sparked a 12-2 TVCC outburst to end the contest.
The Lady Rangers will visit Coastal Bend on Wednesday, and then return home next Saturday to host rival Tyler Junior College in a 2 p.m. contest.