The Navarro Runnin’ Bulldogs offered up a little bit of everything for their fans in Wednesday’s 72-48 victory over Coastal Bend.
It was kind of like eating in the school cafeteria.
There were dunks. Defense. Transition baskets. Twelve different scorers.
It was almost exactly how coach Johnny Estelle draws it up at his desk the morning of games, except for a 1-for-16 start from the field.
“We started off slow,” Estelle said. “We missed some shots. It was a good thing they didn’t score either.”
The end result — Navarro is 4-0 in conference and has a chance to go unbeaten in league games before the Christmas break if the Bulldogs can win at San Jacinto on Saturday.
Navarro’s defense was dynamite in the first half. Coastal Bend didn’t score its first field goal until 10:26 left in the opening half. By that time Navarro had already made enough shots to lead 11-5.
The Cougars (7-2, 3-1), who came in unbeaten in conference, actually cut Navarro’s lead to 14-11 on Brandon Golden’s 3-pointer with 8:28 left in the first half. But the Runnin’ Bulldogs went on a 21-5 run highlighted by two acrobatic alley-oop dunks.
The first one came on an assist from David Woodard to Toney Foster, who flushed home a two-handed slam off the lob for a 23-13 lead with 6:34 left in the first half. The next one came when Woodard paid it forward by putting up a perfect lob pass for Princeton Onwas, who dunked it home for a 35-16 lead with 2:20 left before halftime.
“Our transition game was good tonight,” Estelle said. “We got up and down the court. We worked on transition for 40 minutes in practice Monday.”
Navarro led by as many as 25 points in the second half. The Runnin’ Bulldogs had the balance that Estelle craves with seven different scorers making field goals before Terrance Syon’s one-handed slam — Navarro’s fifth dunk of the game — gave him his second basket of the half and put the Runnin’ Bulldogs up 53-34 with 11:40 left in the game.
“Those teams are tough to play against,” Estelle said of his team’s balance.
Navarro had 12 different scorers, topped by Foster, who had 13 points. Onwas was the only other double-figure scorer with 11.
It’s a style that has worked well for the Runnin’ Bulldogs with three trips to the national tournament in the last four years.
It’s too early to talk about Hutchinson, Kan. in December, but it’s nights like these that can get you dreaming. And get reporters writing about it.
“You very seldom see the team with the leading scorer in the conference make it to Hutch,” Estelle said.
Navarro appears built again not to have one.
Navarro 72, Coastal Bend 48
Coastal Bend 20 28 — 48
Navarro 37 35 — 72
Coastal Bend — Brandon Golden 16, Myles Eglin 4, Donald Dallas 3, Kriston Minor 1, La Darrien Williams 12, Darrick Little 7, Brandon Hairston 5, Shane Minnick 2.
Navarro — Harrison Hawkins 5, Shannon Lilly 7, Jonathan Benn 4, Micah Cooper 2, Princeton Onwas 11, David Woodard 2, Toney Foster 13, Jamar Goodwin 6, Brandon Scott 3, Terrance Syon 9, Lamark Barnes 4, Jaleel Cousins 6.
Records — Coastal Bend 7-2, 3-1; Navarro 10-3, 4-0.