The end of the regular season couldn’t have gone much better for the Kilgore College Rangers.

Kilgore closed with six straight wins and seven victories in the last eight outings to earn a third seed and first-round bye in the Region XIV Conference Tournament.

All good things, but all that matters now is what the Rangers do over the next three days.

Kilgore (15-5) opens the tournament at 8 p.m. tonight against Blinn (11-10) at John Alexander Gymnasium in Jacksonville. Blinn advanced with a quarterfinal win over Coastal Bend on Tuesday.

The Rangers and Buccaneers met twice during the regular season, with Blinn earning a 58-56 win in Kilgore on Jan. 23 and the Rangers notching an 82-76 victory in Brenham back on March 3.

The game also pits two of Kilgore College’s all-time winningest coaches against each other. With 15 wins this season, KC’s Brian Hoberecht is now second all-time on the win list at Kilgore with a 239-147 record. He passed former KC coach Scott Schumacher, who carved out a 234-165 record at Kilgore before taking over at Blinn.

Hoberecht is second on the KC list to Joe Turner, who had a 388-134 record with the Rangers.

The winner of tonight’s game will take on either Navarro or Victoria at 8 p.m. on Friday, with the championship game set for 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Also on tap today in quarterfinal action, it’s Trinity Valley (20-1) vs. Lamar State Port Arthur (8-14) at 1 p.m., Panola (14-6) vs. Paris (11-12) at 3 p.m. and Navarro (15-5) vs. Victoria (6-11) at 6 p.m.

Panola won both regular season meetings against Paris this season — 71-70 at Paris on Feb. 6 and 81-75 in Carthage on March 17.

WomenJACKSONVILLE — Panola’s Alana Swift hit a layup in traffic with 13.2 seconds remaining, and Kilgore missed a couple of 3-pointers as time ran out here Wednesday as the Fillies advanced in the Region XIV Conference Tournament with a 79-77 win over the Lady Rangers.

Kilgore’s Jada Hood ties things a 77-77 with 42 seconds remaining to set up Swift’s game-winner.

Kilgore’s season ends with a 10-13 record. Panola (12-7) moves on to face No. 1 seed Trinity Valley at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Hood finished with 23 points in the loss for KC. Kerrighan Dunn added 16, Vianey Galvan 14 and Rahmena Henderson 10. Tara Green led the Lady Rangers with 10 rebounds.

Ginger Reece had 21, Swift 19, Destiny Burton 14 points and 11 rebounds and Destini Whitehead 12 points for Panola.

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Follow Jack Stallard on Twitter: @lnjsports

Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.