Kyron Gibson: Angelina College guard Kyron Gibson (23) weaves his way through traffic during a recent game. The first-place Roadrunners host second-place Lee College at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Shands Gymnasium. (Daisy de Boer/AC Athletics photo)

Just having the first- and second-place teams in Region XIV’s South Zone facing off would be plenty of reason to want to see Saturday’s basketball game.

But for Angelina College Roadrunner head coach Nick Wade, the game will carry even more meaning. He gets an opportunity to show his former mentor just how much he’s learned in his two years at the helm at AC.

The Roadrunners will host Lee College, where Wade served three years as an assistant coach under long-time Rebel head coach Roy Champagne. Over those three seasons, Wade helped Lee College to its best win totals in school history, a conference championship in 2013 and a spot in the national tournament’s Sweet 16.

And while Wade admits to still holding a soft spot for his former program, he stresses that for at least a short time on Saturday, those feelings won’t matter.

“For 40 minutes, we’ll be sworn enemies,” Wade laughed. “But Coach Champagne treats me like I’m one of his own, and I’m so indebted and grateful that he allowed me to get into this business and in this region, and I’m really excited to compete against him.

“It’s always nice to compete against family, and Coach Champagne has his guys playing at a high level right now. Games like this are why you want to play and coach in Region XIV.”

The Roadrunners are coming off a real thriller played Wednesday night in Port Arthur. AC’s Travis Henson managed a tip-in off a miss just in time to beat the buzzer, staving off overtime and lifting the ‘Runners (12-8, 8-2) to their fourth straight win in league play.

“Travis tipped it in, and credit to him for continuing to compete instead of just watching the ball,” Wade said of the big play. “There are a lot of things, even on that last-second play, that we can clean up, but the guys did a great job just finishing the game.

“It’s always tough to win on the road in Region XIV, but we were able to find a way to do it. It wasn’t pretty, but I’m really proud of my guys for finishing the job.”

Saturday’s game against the Rebels (14-7, 5-5) tips off at 4 p.m. at Shands Gymnasium. Live streaming is available at angelinaathletics.com.

Admission to the game is free, with donations accepted at the door.

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Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.