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After COVID shutdown, Runners returning to the hardwood

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:53 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Texas (KTRE) - Angelina College basketball coaches Byron Coleman and J.J. Montgomery were all smiles as they took part in the NJCAA Region XIV media Day on Wednesday.

The two men will bring basketball back to the school after COVID-19 shut down athletics for all Angelina College teams during the 2020-21 school year. The Lady Roadrunners are picked to finish 5th in the region while the men are picked to finish fifth in the South Zone.

“If our front freshman come along I think we have a chance to be competitive,” Coleman said. “The league is tough. Coaches are working really hard. Lots of returners in this league. I think this must be the most experience and most talent we had had in this league because of what is back. I think COVID has something to do with it. We just have to catch up.”

The Lady Roadrunners will be built off a lot of transfers from the junior college ranks. Coleman is excited for the girls he has as he looks to return the team to the National Tournament for the second time since 2019.

“This is the deepest team I have had in years,” Coleman said. “The last few years we only went about seven or eight deep. I don’t have anyone that can’t play. All our kids have an opportunity to play. My kids are just quiet. They don’t talk. They won’t say anything. The only one that talks is Lovietta Walker and she talks enough for everybody.”

The women will open up the season on November 2nd against Grayson College at home.

On the men’s side the last time we saw the team was celebrating a Region XIV Championship win in Shreveport with Nick Wade as their head coach, The sports world shut down days later do to COVID-19. Wade is now the head coach at rival Lee College and the Roadrunners welcomes back J.J. Montgomery to take over. Montgomery is the all-time scoring leader for Angelina College.

“I am a hometown kid,” Montgomery said. “This is a dream job. We have a very young group. Mostly a freshman group. This team right now I do not think they understand how this conference i. I try to preach to them everyday how tough it is every night they go out on the court.”

With a complete turnover, the team is playing small ball under the first year with Montgomery.

“My guys are very quick and very athletic,” Montgomery said. “We are going to use that to our strength. We just played at the Jamboree in Fort Worth and they surprised me. They completed well. I am not going to use the excuse that this is my first year and this is there first year and we will get just enough by. We are going to be great and we will be great at everything we do.”

The Angelina men will open up the season at home on November 1 against East Texas Flight.

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