Collin College’s basketball teams closed out their regular seasons on a high note, March 1.

The Lady Cougars brought home a third North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference championship in a row with an 84-73 win over Temple College. Then, Collin’s men’s team battled back from an early 13-point deficit to win an 85-83 nail-biter over Temple’s men. Both teams will compete in the regional tournament, beginning March 8 at Frenship High School in Wolfforth, Texas.

The Lady Cougars closed out the regular season with a 11-3 conference record and a 19-10 record overall. Coach Jeff Allen said that tough non-conference competition was one of the keys to the season.

“We played a lot of ranked teams, but I think we learned a lot from those non-conference games,” Allen said. “I think that helped us a lot during conference time.”

Allen said the team had to figure out ways to win this year after only returning two sophomores – Tree Brooks and Zhanae Whitney – from last year’s team.

“It was really a season of going through the process,” Allen said, “just learning what we needed to do to win and how we needed to play with this group.”

He said the team has come together well, with different players stepping up in each game to get the win. The team will need that strength when it comes to the regional tournament, which will have some stiff competition, including nationally-ranked teams Odessa College and South Plains College. 

“It is going to be tough,” Allen said. “We play in one of the toughest regions in the country. We are going to have to play our best to win.”

Also headed to the regional tournament, the Collin men’s team closed out its season with a 7-5, 19-9 record. Much like the women’s team, the Cougars were in a rebuilding year, but Coach Jim Sigona said it was the versatility of his players that helped them reach the tournament.

Sigona said the team rotated its lineup for virtually every game this year, tailoring it to suit the competition.

“This is kind of a crazy year for me,” he said. “Usually you have seven or eight guys and a couple more that you mix in, but this group was totally different. There were times when one guy would start in one game and wouldn’t play in the next game.”

He said that strategy was about finding ways to be consistent with all of the new players on the team. This year’s team only returned one part-time starter. That isn’t to say it didn’t build off of last year’s team, however. He noted the leadership of two returning sophomores – Trevonta Robertson and Jola Otubu.

“I think they showed a lot of leadership all year long and Trevonta was probably our most consistent player all season,” Sigona said. “I think that helped contribute to the success with all of the new guys.”