Students received their three-weeks academic progress reports on Tuesday during their second-period classes. The current grading cycle concludes with semester exams scheduled this Friday, Monday, and Tuesday.
All PISD campuses will be closed for the Christmas holidays beginning Wednesday, Dec. 20. School resumes with the second semester on Thursday, Jan. 4.
Paris ISD uses School Messenger to provide timely communications. If you have a child attending PISD, you are automatically in the database and will receive phone notifications. To enhance our ability to accurately deliver information on activities and emergencies, we kindly request that you create your own contact preference profile.
If you would like to have notifications sent to you cell phone, you can opt in to the PISD text messaging service. Learn more.
The Paris Ladycats earned a berth in the R.K. Hall & Kings Classic girls championship game with a 5-1 win over Chapel Hill Friday at Wildcat Stadium. Meanwhile, the title fate of the Paris Wildcats will depend on their final group game Saturday despite a 6-0 rout of the Terrell JV.
The Ladycats clinched their Group 1 standings with their win over Chapel Hill. They took a 2-0 halftime lead on goals by seniors Anahdian Mitchell and Tieren Gates.
Chapel Hill caught the Paris defense flat-footed to start the second half and Kaitlyn Shepard took advantage of a severe angle on the left flank following a corner kick to cut the Ladycats’ lead to 2-1.
The Paris offense then exploded for three insurance goals over a 7-minute period to wrap up the victory. Junior Zanesha Dangerfield scored back-to-back goals after short runs, then senior Keisha Mitchell capped off the scoring following a set piece corner play by juniors Deagan Dingman and Katy Hall.
Paris is scheduled to play Mabank at 11 a.m. Saturday to finish group play. Their opponent for Saturday’s 4 p.m. girls championship match is Group 2 winner Sulphur Springs, the tournament’s defending champion.
The Paris boys, meanwhile, took their group lead with the shutout over the Terrell JV. Senior Zach Lamb scored twice, while other goals were scored by sophomore Kyler Beshirs, juniors Cole Miller and Nick Mitchell, and senior Christian Mitchell.
The win could prove costly for Paris, however, as Nick Mitchell went down with an apparent knee injury.
The Cats face Pittsburg at 12:30 p.m. Saturday to finish group play and will either play in the 6 p.m. boys runnerup match or the 8 p.m. championship depending on Saturday’s match results.
The contrast was, quite literally, day and night for the Paris Ladycats and Wildcats soccer teams on Day 1 of the R.K. Hall & Kings Classic at Wildcat Stadium.
The Ladycats opened the tournament during shirt-sleeve, noon-time weather with a warm, south wind and a 5-0 rout of district rival Bonham. By the time the Wildcats closed the day with a 0-0 tie against Pleasant Grove, temperatures had dropped 25 degrees by a brisk north breeze.
The Ladycats’ offensive burst was fueled by 4 goals from junior midfielder Estephany Balderas (pictured left in 2016 file photo by Joe Watson). Senior Tieren Gates had the other Paris tally along with an assist, while junior Katy Hall notched 2 assists and senior Janya Cook had an assist.
Other first-day results on the girls’ side of the tournament saw Athens defeat Chapel Hill, 3-1, and Sulphur Springs blank Mabank, 2-0. The Ladycats play Chapel Hill Friday at 2:30.
Goals were a rarity in the boys’ bracket. In addition to the Paris-PG scoreless tie, Pittsburg and Kennedale battled to a 1-1 tie, while North Lamar scored a late goal to nip Terrell, 1-0. The Wildcats get Terrell in Friday’s 7 p.m. match to finish Day 2 play.
Paris put a ball in the PG net less than 2 minutes into their match, but it was nullified by an offsides call. The Cats had the wind at their backs in the first half and took advantage with numerous scoring opportunities. Scoring chances were fewer in the second half, and Paris played the final 20 minutes down a player after drawing a red-card ejection for demonstratively arguing a foul call.
PG had a clear path to the game-winner in the final 2 minutes on a rebound after Paris senior goalkeeper Cade Blackmon’s initial stop on a breakaway. However, junior defender Jose Resendiz was able to clear the ball before it could cross the goalline.
Katy Hall watches her game-winner slip past the reach of the Kilgore goalkeeper
Katy Hall scored a breakaway goal just 1:33 before halftime, and the Paris Ladycats made it stand up for a 1-0 win Tuesday over defending regional champion Kilgore in a pre-district match at Wildcat Stadium.
Topside defender Deagan Dingman chipped the ball over the Lady Bulldog defense that Hall was able to control at the top of the 18-yard box. The junior forward then beat the Kilgore goalie with a shot from 10 yards out that slipped into the leftside corner of the net.
Kilgore (2-3) threatened to get the equalizer with 20 seconds left in the first half, but a close-range shot bounced off the football goalpost above the soccer goal.
Paris (1-1) tried to work the ball to Hall in the second half following long left flanking runs by Tieren Gates and Estephany Balderas but defensive traffic in front of the net swallowed up one crossing pass, and Hall misfired on the second chance.
Kilgore had three excellent scoring chances the rest of the match but each shot in the 18-yard area slipped across the goalmouth without senior goalie Lindi Hamner having to make a save.
The Ladycats will co-host the Kings Classic tournament with the Wildcats starting Thursday at Wildcat Stadium. They open the tournament with an 11:30 a.m. match against district opponent Bonham. Paris faces Tyler Chapel Hill on Friday, 2:30 p.m., and closes out group play Saturday with an 11 a.m. match against 9th-ranked Mabank.
The Paris Ladycats climbed back into the District 14-4A race Monday with a 61-41 win at Pittsburg. It was the Ladycats’ first district win since Feb. 10, 2015, also over Pittsburg.
Paris, 8-15 for the season, evened its district mark to 1-1 prior to Friday’s crosstown encounters with the North Lamar Pantherettes in the Wildcat Gym. The schools’ freshmen teams get the rivalry started at 4:30 followed by JV, then varsity.
Pleasant Grove is the early district leader at 2-0, with Paris, NL, Liberty-Eylau, and Atlanta all bunched in the middle at 1-1. Pittsburg is 0-2.
The Ladycats cut down on their turnovers and fouls, two areas that proved costly in their loss last week against L-E. Paris offset their 26 turnovers with 18 steals. The Ladycats swamped the Lady Pirates, 20-4, in the second quarter to take control of the game.
Sophomore Peaches Jackson again topped the offense with 22 points, while senior guard Drea Jenkins scored 12, and senior post Dextiny Patrick had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Sydney Reynolds led Pitt with 15 points, and Star Smith added 14.
The 17th-ranked Paris Wildcats closed out the pre-district portion of their schedule Monday with a 96-72 rout of the Melissa Cardinals in a game that served as both cause for optimism and alarm for future District 14-4A opponents.
The alarming element were the 9 memorable attacks on the Wildcat Gym basketball goals in the form of authoritative dunks provided by Josh Robinson (pictured right) and Jalon Pipkins. The rim-rattling showcase gave the small crowd in attendance justification for skipping out on a night at home watching the NCAA championship football game on TV.
But the optimistic portion could be mirrored in the facial grimaces and sideline contortions of their coach Billy Mack Steed who suffered through a painful evening of watching his team consistently succumb to the Cardinals’ full-court traps and all-too-easy penetrations in the paint.
“That was ugly,” said Steed, whose Cats begin their district title defense Saturday with a 5 p.m. start back in the Wildcat Gym against crosstown rival North Lamar. The schools’ freshmen teams start the tripleheader at 2 p.m. followed by the JV squads.
The veteran Paris coach was actually upbeat prior to the game. “We’ve had some great practices this past week,” he said of the 14-4 Cats who had been idle for 10 days after hosting the annual Paris tournament. “However, we don’t usually practice well on Mondays.
“That was what our Mondays are like.”
Paris never trailed the 10-9 Cardinals, but turnovers (11 in the opening quarter alone) along with 19 missed layups during the night allowed the visitors to hang around longer than Steed would have liked.
“If we make half those shots, we would have easily had 120 points,” he lamented.
Jalon Pipkins (pictured left) soars to throw down a posterizer dunk against Melissa.
Melissa pulled within a single point of the Paris lead, 17-16, before the Cats finished the first quarter on a 5-0 run to take a 22-16 advantage into quarter No. 2.
The grew to 49-29 at halftime as Melissa’s defensive pressure took its toll on the Cardinals in terms of foul troubles. Two Melissa starters picked up their third fouls in the second quarter.
The Cardinals trimmed the lead to 13 twice in the third period before the Robinson and Pipkins dunkfest finished off Melissa. After a Pipkins posterizer dunk, Cardinal defenders didn’t contest the prolific pair the rest of the night on their flights to the rim. Paris enjoyed a 95-63 lead with 3:24 left in the game when Steed pulled his starters.
Robinson ended with 34 points, while Pipkins had 30. Tavon Lawrence was the only other Cat in double figures at 10. Junior Castleberry topped Melissa with 14, Tre Homer scored 12, Kaedri Cobbs 11, and Cameron Withers 10.
Paris swept both sub-varsity games Monday. The Cat freshmen won, 74-42, as Gavyn Hollje scored 19. The JV used a 3-point play by Zyan King to claim a 59-56 win in overtime. Ty Garvin had 11 for Paris.
So are boys just tougher, or maybe girls are smarter?
Both Wildcat and Ladycat soccer programs unveiled their 2017 lineups during tournament play this weekend. Due to frigid temperatures in the teens and travel concerns, the Ladykats Regional Cup in Kennedale was cancelled after the first day of a scheduled 3-day run.
Meanwhile, Wildcats’ head coach Jeremy Beshirs told his troops to bundle up and boarded a bus to beat Friday’s snow storm to the southern tropical paradise of Hallsville where temperatures were only in the balmy 20s. Fortunately, Beshirs had previously reserved rooms at a Longview area hotel for Friday night, avoiding some potential treacherous road conditions.
The Cats, despite playing 3 Class 5A opponents, held their own to finish 2-1-1. They rallied from an 0-2 halftime deficit in the Classic Bracket championship game Saturday vs. 5A Lindale to gain a 2-2 tie only to lose the penalty kick shootout. Goals by senior Christian Mitchell, assisted by sophomore Isaac Vasquez, and the game-tying goal by junior Montana Payne, off a corner kick by sophomore Kyler Beshirs, sent the match to the overtime session.
The temperatures may have been frigid, but Mitchell is off to a hot start to his senior season. The 3-year starter has scored in every match and now has 6 goals for the young season, 16 for his career.
The Ladycats’ lone appearance in the Kennedale tournament was a Thursday matchup of regional semifinalists. Melissa, the No. 4-ranked team in Region 1 this season, beat Paris, ranked 6th in Region 2, by a 4-1 count.
The Lady Cardinals took a 2-0 halftime lead before a stronger performance by the Ladycats produced a goal by senior Tieren Gates (pictured left in photo by Joe Watson) in the second half, assisted by junior Katy Hall. The Ladycats will host state semifinalist Kilgore, the No. 1-ranked team in Region 2, on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats started the Hallsville tournament Thursday with a 2-1 win over Class 5A Whitehouse. Header goals were scored by Mitchell, assisted by Vasquez, and the game-winner by senior Zach Lamb, following up a shot on goal by Mitchell.
The Cats returned to Hallsville Friday needing a win or tie to finish first in their assigned pool but dropped a 2-1 decision to Class 5A Marshall. A goal by Mitchell gave Paris a 1-0 halftime lead, but the Mavericks scored twice in the second half to take the win. The Cats had a potential tying goal negated by an official’s call.
That dropped the Cats into the tournament’s Classic Bracket where they routed Spring Hill, 6-0, in a semifinal pairing. Mitchell scored the hat trick (3 goals, one coming on a penalty kick), and junior brother Nick Mitchell also scored. Beshirs had a pair of goals on corner kick benders.
Assists were credited to Beshirs and seniors Colin Harris and Stanley Watkins. The Cats held a 2-0 halftime lead before exploding for 4 goals in the second half.
The Paris boys’ next action will be Thursday in the annual Kings Classic tournament held at Wildcat Stadium. The Wildcats open with a 7 p.m. match against Pleasant Grove, while the Ladycats play the 11:30 a.m. tournament opener on Thursday vs. Bonham.
The Paris Ladycats staged a furious fourth-quarter rally Saturday afternoon in the Wildcat Gym to trim a 12-point Liberty-Eylau lead down to a single point, but turnovers and foul issues continue to haunt the varsity girls basketball team as the defending district champion Lady Leopards escaped town with a 66-63 win.
L-E (15-7) started the fourth quarter with a 54-42 advantage. However, sophomore post Peaches Jackson, who led the comeback by scoring 16 of her game-high 39 points in the final period, had a putback-and-1 to pull Paris (7-15) within 64-63 with 1:02 left in the game. (See picture left)
The Lady Leopards, who held a 7-0 advantage in 3-point field goals, missed on an attempt beyond the arc, giving Paris the ball with 39.2 remaining. Jackson missed on a 10-footer, but a tie ball on the rebound gave the Ladycats another chance with 20.3 on the clock.
Paris tried to get the ball to Jackson, but a tight double-team allowed L-E to steal the inbounds pass. L-E attacked the Paris goal, and Jackson picked up her fifth foul. That sent Lady Leopard guard Eliyah Howard to the line to pad the lead with a pair of foul shots with 13.7 remaining.
The Ladycats’ last remaining chance ended on the final of 52 turnovers at midcourt.
Both teams were hampered by turnovers, fouls, and poor foul shooting. The Ladycats made just 19 of their 39 shots from the line (49%), while L-E was just 9 of 25 (36%). The teams combined for 48 fouls with 4 starters fouling out.
L-E used a couple of bursts from 3-point land to create separation. The Lady Leopards broke away from a 19-19 tie in the second quarter with a 13-0 run fueled by a trio of 3s. Jackson also picked up her third personal foul during that run to complicate matters for the Ladycats, who faced a 37-29 deficit at the half.
L-E led, 52-42, after 3 quarters, and starting Paris point guard Serenity Sanders fouled out just 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. When L-E increased the lead to 54-42 on a fast-break layup by Taylor Crabtree, any chance of a Paris upset seemed doomed.
Still, the Ladycats fought back with full-court pressure and pounded the ball inside to Jackson to set up the last-minute dramatics. Senior post Dextiny Patrick was the only other Ladycat in double figures with 10 points, while senior guard Drea Jenkins had 8.
Howard topped the Lady Leopards with 21, and Crabtree scored 17.
In other district openers, Pleasant Grove beat North Lamar, 55-42, and Atlanta beat Pittsburg, 55-44. The Ladycats travel to Pittsburg Monday before hosting NL Friday in the Wildcat Gym.
The Paint. In basketball terms, it’s the (usually) painted or shaded rectangle part of the court nearest each basket. Teams that can consistently score in the paint and can keep their opponent from scoring in that area usually win basketball games.
The football equivalent is The Red Zone (inside the 20-yard lines). In baseball, it’s having runners in Scoring Position (second or third base). The same simple concept applies: Score inside the Red Zone or bring runners across home from Scoring Position . . . keep your opponent from doing likewise, and you can win championships.
The Mt. Pleasant Tigers controlled The Paint in Friday’s championship finale of the 7th Annual Guaranty Bank & Trust Paris Holiday Invitational to claim the tournament’s big trophy by virtue of their 79-71 win over the Paris Wildcats in the Wildcat Gym.
“We don’t match up with them inside,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said afterwards, “and then we have our inside players in foul trouble and have to play people out of position.”
It was a disappointing ending for the host team, which knocked down eight 3-pointers and added an in-bounds thundering alley-oop dunk-and-1 to senior Jalen Pipkins’ highlight reel to take a 39-28 lead over MP midway through the second quarter.
Pictured left: Vershaud Richardson battles James Moore (44) and Buddy McGill (1) for a rebound in The Paint. Picture by Joe Watson
But The Paint soon left its mark on the Cats’ chances of winning their third title in the tournament’s 7-year history. Senior 6-6 forward Sam Hawkes picked up his third personal foul, and by the end of the first half 6-5 sophomore post Vershaud Richardson, and their replacements, 6-2 junior Perry Franklin and 6-0 junior Demetric Glover, also had 3 each.
Also, 6-2 junior Jalen Easter was unavailable after injuring his leg in Thursday night’s semifinal win over Life Waxahachie.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were able to drive the lane at will and get second-chance points off offensive rebounds to whittle down the Paris lead. Although the Cats led, 45-41 at halftime, disaster loomed.
“People don’t understand how much a tournament like this (playing 5 games in 3 days) can wear on your legs,” Steed said.
The legs went dead on both Wildcat scoring machines, Pipkins and junior Josh Robinson, who collected 22 and 17, respectively, in the first half but went stone cold and were shut out in the third period. Hawkes quickly picked up his fourth foul, Franklin had his fourth by the end of the quarter, and Richardson had No. 4 at the start of the fourth period. MP won the third quarter, 19-5, to take a 60-50 lead into the final 8 minutes.
The Tigers extended the lead to 12, 62-50, before Pipkins and Robinson found a second wind to help the Cats close within 67-63 on a Robinson floater with 1:11 left to play.
MP’s huge advantage at the foul line (19 of 29 compared to just 7 of 15 for Paris) and some snowbird layups over the Cats’ press finished off the win for the Tigers (14-5). Dorian Glinton led the winners with 26, while 6-5 senior James Moore had 18, along with 11 apiece from guards Josh McGill-Spencer and Kevin Savage.
For Paris (13-4), Robinson had a tournament-high 30 points and Pipkins finished right behind at 28, despite making an un-Pipkins-like 2 of 7 free throws. The Cats take a much-needed break before closing out the pre-district portion of their schedule on Jan. 9 vs. Melissa in the Wildcat Gym.
Summaries of other Day 3 finals:
The Paris Ladycats varsity basketball team won their final pre-district game at the Kaufman Holiday Tournament to take a 7-14 mark into the District 14-4A opener Friday vs. defending champion Liberty-Eylau in the Wildcat Gym.
The Ladycats lost their opening game in the Kaufman tournament, 51-45, to Malakoff despite a monster game from sophomore post Peaches Jackson (pictured left in earlier photo vs. Hugo by Joe Watson), who scored 30 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, 6 steals, and blocked 3 shots. Senior post Dextiny Patrick added 5 points with 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks.
Foul problems and turnovers cost Paris in its second game which Scurry-Rosser won, 40-36, in overtime. Three Ladycat starters fouled out, and Paris was mired with 40 turnovers. Jackson led the team in scoring with 11 points while Patrick had 15 rebounds and 6 points, but both players picked up 5 personal fouls.
The Ladycats topped Class 6A South Garland in the finale, 55-40, as 10 Paris players scored points in the game. Jackson again led the way with 21 points, senior Drea Jenkins scored 8, and Patrick collected 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.
The 2017 district chase figures to be a wide-open affair. North Lamar was the preseason choice by state coaches to come out on top, followed by Pleasant Grove, L-E, and Atlanta, but the Ladycats could be in the mix if they can curb their foul tendencies and improve their ball-handling skills.
-- Joe Watson Photo
Perry Franklin guards NL’s Sam Asay in Thursday’s Championship Bracket quarterfinal win over the Panthers while Sam Hawkes guards Cody Anthony in the paint
The Paris Wildcats try to keep the big trophy for the 7th annual Guaranty Bank & Trust Paris Holiday Tournament at home Friday when they face the Mt. Pleasant Tigers in the 5:30 p.m. championship game in the Wildcat Gym.
The Cats (13-3) have won the tournament’s top hardware twice before (2011 and 2014). To make the third time the charm, they face the challenge of beating the Tigers (13-5) for the second time this season. Paris topped MP, 83-78, back on Dec. 6 in a pre-district game in the Wildcat Gym.
The Tigers pose big problems in the paint for the Cats in the form of 6-5 senior James Moore, 6-4 junior Buddy McGill, and 6-4 senior Holden Davis who helped power MP past Clarksville, 52-51, and Hope (AR), 47-43, in Thursday’s championship bracket. Paris, meanwhile, turned back North Lamar, 66-42, and rallied past Life Waxahachie, 58-56.
Jalon Pipkins, Paris’ human highlight reel machine, scored 29 in the win over NL and 28 in the Day 2 finale against Life Waxahachie, but it was the play of some of his fellow football-turned-basketball teammates that had head coach Billy Mack Steed optimistic about his team’s progress.
While Pipkins and 6-5 junior Josh Robinson are still the Cats’ primary scoring threats, Steed knows he’ll need a full team effort to contend in the upcoming District 14-4A title race. Senior starters Sam Hawkes and Tavon Lawrence have made big contributions and sophomore Cameron Jones is giving quality minutes at point guard.
However, big lineups such as the one that Mt. Pleasant will put on the floor will require the attention of the Cats’ football recruits. Sophomore 6-4 post Vershaud Richardson got in foul trouble Thursday trying to defense Life Waxahachie’s standout 6-5 center Joshua Sanders. That brought in Jalen Easter off the bench to guard Sanders, but the 6-2 junior had to leave the game with a leg injury. That left things up to 6-0 junior Demetric Glover, and he had his best defensive outing of the season.
But the key contributor off the bench was 6-2 junior Perry Franklin, who has quickly become a crowd favorite with instant energy on both ends of the court. With Paris needing a pick-me-up to get past the Mustangs, Franklin hustled for an offensive rebound off a rare Pipkins miss at the foul line. He then knocked down a 10-foot baseline jumper to give the Cats a 48-47 lead.
He wasn’t through. His steal and breakout layup gave Paris a 50-47 cushion. Although the Mustangs countered to regain a 51-50 advantage, the rest of the game became “a free throw contest,” as Steed described it. When you have a sharp-shooter like Pipkins, who knocked down 10 of 14 free throws in the game including a pair with 1.9 seconds left, it’s a contest you’ll win most nights.
“Perry and Cameron really played hard out there tonight,” Steed said. “They (Mustangs) are a quality team, and that was really a good win for us.”
Four games remain in the Championship Bracket, starting with a 1 p.m. match between Teague and North Lamar for 5th place. Clarksville and Hot Springs play for the consolation trophy at 2:30, Life Waxahacie and Hope meet in the 3rd place at 4, and Paris-MP conclude the 3-day tournament run in the 5:30 title game.
Four teams competed in the Gold Bracket on Thursday. Lufkin Hudson beat Willis, 81-77 in overtime, to take that trophy home.
Thursday’s Day 2 game summaries:
Local fans will get an early glimpse at the basketball version of the Crosstown Showdown Thursday when Paris faces North Lamar in a 2:30 p.m. quarterfinal game at the 7th annual Guaranty Bank & Trust Paris Holiday Tournament in the Wildcat Gym.
The Wildcats earned their spot in the Championship Bracket by winning Pool A on the tournament’s opening day Wednesday. The Cats, ranked 18th in Class 4A, easily disposed of Gladewater, 41-15, then knocked off Teague, the state’s No. 10 Class 3A team, 71-54, in the Day 1 finale.
The Panthers, meanwhile, finished 2nd in Pool C, losing to Hope (AR), 55-42, in their morning game before beating Lufkin Hudson, 64-55.
The top 2 finishers in each pool advanced to the Championship Bracket, while 3rd place teams were grouped in the Gold Bracket. In addition to Paris and Hope, other pool winners were Clarksville and Life Waxahachie.
Wednesday’s game summaries:
A smaller, but still potent field of 12 teams tips off 3 days of boys basketball bedlam Wednesday in the 7th annual Guaranty Bank & Trust Paris Holiday Invitational in the Paris High Wildcat Gym.
The 12-team lineup, a reduction from the 16-team tournament of recent years, means fans and players alike will enjoy a couple of hours’ extra wakeup time since play will start at 10 a.m. daily. Also, the majority of games will be played in the main gym, with the auxiliary gym used for just 6 of the tournament’s scheduled 28 games.
Pool play will be contested on Wednesday. Host Paris is grouped in Pool A and will play Gladewater at 12:40 before ending Day 1 with an 8:30 tipoff against Teague.
North Lamar will play in Pool C at 10 a.m. vs. Hope, AK, and at 5:50 vs. Lufkin Hudson. Clarksville plays New Boston in Pool D at 10 a.m. (in the auxiliary gym) then tackles defending champion Hot Springs, AK, at 7:10 p.m.
Pool B features a pair of Class 5A teams in Mount Pleasant and Willis along with Waxahachie Life.
The top 2 finishers in each pool advance to the championship bracket which begins on Thursday, while the 3rd-place teams will contend for the gold bracket trophy. Finals in both brackets are schedule for Friday with the championship game starting at 5:30 p.m.
Last year’s tournament featured a matchup of teams with state title aspirations. Hot Springs ended host Paris’ 51-game regular season win streak with a 53-45 win in the finale.
While both schools lost key contributors to graduation, Hot Springs and Paris each return a pair of top talents to the 2016 field. The Trojans, 4-7 against a rugged early schedule, features 6-4 Louisiana Tech commit Exavian Christon and 6-5 Paris Harris. The Wildcats (9-3) are led by 6-5 junior Josh Robinson (29.6 points per game) and 6-4 senior Jalon Pipkins (19.3).
Paris was ranked No. 18 in the state’s latest Class 4A ratings, while Teague (8-5) was 10th in Class 3A, and Clarksville (10-4) was No. 4 in Class 2A.
Quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown was chosen as the MVP of this year’s All-Red River Valley football team and senior teammate safety TD Williams received the nod as Defensive MVP as selected by The Paris News. The duo recently received the same designations on this year’s All-District Team after leading the Paris Wildcats to a 5-0 district championship and an appearance in the Class 4A-I Region 2 semifinals.
Paris picks on the All-RRV First Team Offense were senior guard Mitchell Cole, senior receiver Jalon Pipkins, and junior running back Donovan Williams. Second Team Offense selections were junior center Gunner Vest and senior placekicker Zach Lamb.
Named to the First Team Defense were senior linebackers Dre McKinney and Tyrel McCalester along with junior safety Jordan Furtch. Second team posts went to sophomore end Vershaud Richardson, junior linebackers Michael Godwin and Perry Franklin, and junior punter Montana Payne.
The Paris Wildcats, ranked 18th in Class 4A, managed to hang around for a half against Class 6A Wylie on the Pirates’ home floor Tuesday before Wylie pulled away in the second half for an 84-62 pre-district basketball win.
The Cats (9-3) will take some time off for the Christmas holidays before hosting the 7th annual Guaranty Bank Paris Holiday Invitational Dec. 28-30 in the Wildcat Gym.
The action starts at 10 a.m. daily beginning with pool play on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Paris plays Gladewater at 12:40 p.m. then closes out Day 1 with an 8:30 nitecap against 10th-ranked Class 3A Teague.
Wylie (9-3) led, 23-17, after the first quarter and had a 41-35 halftime lead before outscoring the Cats, 23-14, in the third quarter and finishing with a 20-13 final period.
Five Pirates finished in double figures topped by Matt Garriga’s 21 points. Scott Ator added 18, Donovan Ollie 13, with 11 apiece from Cameron Wells and Dathan Brooks.
For Paris, Jalon Pipkins led all scorers with 25 points, while Josh Robinson scored 20. Junior Perry Franklin added 6, Tavon Lawrence and Sam Hawkes 4 each, and Jalen Easter 3.
The Hugo Buffaloes’ used some defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and a 24-11 foul shot advantage to outscore the Paris Wildcats, 25-10, in the final period to register a 75-68 win Friday in a pre-district basketball game played in Hugo.
It was just the second loss this season for the 18th-ranked Cats (9-2), both losses to out-of-state opponents. Paris fell to Arkansas High, 75-70, in the first round of the New Boston Gunslingers Tournament.
The Cats led at each break, 22-17, 38-33, and 58-50, but couldn’t overcome turnovers created by the Buffs’ trapping press. Hugo converted 20 of 24 foul shots (10 of 13 in the fourth quarter), while Paris made 6 of 11 at the line (4 of 6 in the fourth).
Otherwise, the game was a 3-fest, with the Cats dropping 13 from long range and the Buffs making 9.
Jalon Pipkins led Paris with 22 points (14 in the opening period). Josh Robinson added 19 and Sam Hawkes 10. Four Hugo players finished in double figures topped by Kealin Scott and Kyon Freeman with 19 apiece.
Paris will travel to Wylie Tuesday for a trio of games before taking a break for the Christmas holidays. The freshmen tip off at 12 noon followed by JV and varsity.
-- Photo by Joe Watson
Paris senior Dextiny Patrick tries to split a Hugo double team in the paint
Despite making just 42% of their foul shots, the Hugo Lady Buffaloes used an overwhelming 38 to 9 advantage in free throw attempts to take a 52-45 pre-district win over the Paris Ladycats Monday in the Wildcat Gym.
The Lady Buffs converted just 16 of their 38 free throw attempts, but it proved to be the decisive difference in the game. Paris made just 4 of their 9 opportunities at the foul line.
More importantly, the Ladycats’ 23-8 edge in fouls took its toll on Paris’ leading scorer, sophomore Peaches Jackson, who scored 31 points just three nights previous in a win over Bonham. Jackson had to sit for 14 minutes due to foul problems, and the sophomore post picked up her fourth personal as the third quarter got underway.
When she took a seat on the bench the game was tied, 23-23, but Hugo closed out the period on a 14-6 run to take a 37-29 advantage into the last quarter. When she returned to the court with 6:11 left in the game, Paris faced a 32-40 deficit.
The Ladycats managed to close within 3, 39-42, on a steal and Drea Jenkins layup, a feed by Serenity Sanders to Jackson, and a Nautica Harris 3-pointer. However, the Lady Buffs dropped in 7 of their final 10 free throws to close out the victory.
Jackson and Harris, who made four 3s in the game, each scored 12 points to lead Paris, while Jenkins added 8. The Ladycats, now 6-12, will break for the Christmas holidays before resuming play Dec. 27-28 at the Kaufman Invitational.
Hugo also won the JV game, 47-34. Essence Gray managed 14 for Paris.
The Paris Ladycats cruised to a 62-42 win over the Bonham Lady Warriors Friday night in the Wildcat Gym.
With sophomore Peaches Jackson (pictured left) scoring 13 of her game-high 31 points in the opening quarter, Paris raced out to a 16-4 lead at the first break, was up by 31-18 at halftime, and extended the lead to as many as 23 points in the second half.
Senior Dextiny Patrick scored 8 points before fouling out midway through the third quarter. Paris coach Deanne Dial substituted freely as 10 of the 12 Ladycats scored at least 2 points in the game.
Melanie Lewis led Bonham with 19 and teammate Averi Reeves added 12.
The Ladycats’ JV won the preliminary game, 31-11, over Bonham. Essence Gray led Paris with 14.
Paris (6-11) returns to the Wildcat Gym Monday to play Hugo, OK, before taking time off for the Christmas holidays. The JV game tips off at 4:30 p.m. followed by varsity around 6.
A steal by Josh Robinson (above) and subsequent outlet pass to Jalon Pipkins leads to a rim-rattling dunk (below) and 64-60 lead over Sulphur Springs
The Sulphur Springs basketball program had posted a combined record of 36-136 over the past 8 seasons, a dismal 21% winning percentage, but the packed visitors bleachers at the Wildcat Gym Tuesday should have been an indicator that these 2016-17 Hopkins County Wildcats are not your perennial district doormats.
So you can understand why Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed was concerned at halftime with his 18th-ranked Wildcats holding a 38-31 lead.
“I didn’t feel good about our chances because I knew they’d start making their shots in the second half and I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to keep up with them.”
Steed was half-right. The visiting Wildcats did, indeed, stage a fourth-quarter comeback to take a brief lead before the hometown Cats made enough big plays over the final four minutes to escape with a 67-64 win. Paris is now 9-1 for the season, while SSHS is 12-2 and perched to become one of the big surprises in Class 5A this year.
Despite being unranked, SSHS has already notched the most wins by the school since 2008. Buoyed by 6-8 Nigerian sophomore post Victor Iwuakor, SSHS poses a tough inside matchup for most teams, and 6-3 sophomore guard Keaston Willis is a dangerous outside threat. The Wildcats’ only other loss this season has been to Class 6A third-ranked Dallas Skyline.
Their story only gets scarier for future opponents. Iwuakor has a freshman brother, Godsgift Ezedinma, who scored 28 points to lead the SSHS JV to a 56-46 win over Paris prior to the varsity headliner. Ezedinma is currently ineligible to play varsity, but will reportedly gain his eligibility at midterm.
Fortunately for Steed and the Paris Cats, that’s a problem they won’t have to face for another year. They were able to secure a win thanks to some good first-half shooting and tough defense.
Josh Robinson scored 28 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead all scorers, while Jalon Pipkins added 14 and Sam Hawkes 12. The Cats knocked down ten 3s in the game, while SSHS made nine from long range.
“Pipkins had one of his best defensive games ever,” Steed said of his 6-4 senior who drew primary responsibility to guard Willis. “Josh played great defense, too, and we roughed up the big kid (Iwuakor) and wore him down at the end.”
Iwuakor topped SSHS scoring with 20, including 12 in the third period, but he was shut out in the pivotal fourth quarter by the Cats’ inside players Hawkes, Vershaud Richardson, and Jalen Easter. Willis and senior guard Ke’ontae Dunn heated up in the fourth quarter to score a combined 17 points to make for the exciting finish. Willis finished with 15 points and Dunn 11.
Willis scored 9 straight points for SSHS to start the final period, and Dunn connected from the 3-point line to give the visitors a 57-54 lead when the Cats caught a huge momentum changer.
A baseline floater by senior Tavon Lawrence turned into a goaltending call on Iwuakor and subsequent technical foul on SSHS coach Clark Cipoletta for arguing the call.
It resulted in a 6-0 Paris run when Pipkins hit both technical foul shots and the Cats retained possession for a successful Pipkins drive to the basket. Dunn, however, knocked down another 3 to retie the score, 60-all, with 3 minutes remaining.
Robinson then dropped a floater in the lane over Iwuakor and picked up a steal on the defensive end to outlet to a streaking Pipkins for a rim-rattling dunk and a 64-60 Paris advantage with 1:48 left to play (see photos above).
Iwuakor had a pair of misses on the next SSHS possession, and Steed took a timeout with 1:18 to go. Pipkins tried to split a midcourt double-team, but had his pocket picked by Dunn for a layup to trim the margin to 64-62 with under a minute to play.
Instead of using the clock, Hawkes launched a 3 from the left corner to give Paris some breathing room at 67-62 with 38.8 to play (see photo below). Another SSHS freshman, Michael Jefferson, countered with a jump-step drive and layup to make it a 67-64 game when Cipoletta took his final timeout with 17.5 remaining.
Unfortunately for the visitors, SSHS only had 3 team fouls at that point, and could not manage to foul 4 more times to send Paris to the free throw line. Four straight successful in-bounds plays by Paris managed to exhaust the scoreboard clock.
Paris has another regional matchup on the horizon with a trip Friday to play Hugo, OK, then the Cats travel to Wylie next Tuesday before hosting the annual Guaranty Bank Paris Holiday Invitational, Dec. 28-30.
SSHS swept both sub-varsity games, winning the JV match, 56-46, and freshmen game, 58-45. Trea Johnson led the Paris freshmen with 14, while TJ Williams scored 15 and Jaylen Henderson 10 for the JV.
Sam Hawkes launches a corner 3 that proves to be the game-winner for Paris
The Paris Wildcats posted a rare tournament loss Thursday, falling by a 75-70 score to Class 6A Arkansas High in the opening round of the New Boston Gunslingers Tournament, but they rebounded with wins on Friday and Saturday to capture the cosolation trophy.
The opening clash turned out to be for the championship since Arkansas (7-1) swept past Hope, AK, and Idabel, OK, by margins of 29 and 37 points, respectively, to win the tournament.
The loss to the Razorbacks dropped the Cats into the consolation bracket, where they posted a 71-42 win over host New Boston on Friday and dropped Daingerfield, 62-36, on Saturday. The Cats, now 8-1 for the season and ranked 18th in Texas Class 4A, have an impressive 33-2 record in tournament action over the past 3 seasons and were the two-time defending champions at the New Boston tournament.
Arkansas (5-1) held Paris junior Josh Robinson to a season-low 29 points. Senior Jalon Pipkins scored 18 for Paris, which trailed the Razorbacks by 56-49 after 3 quarters before mounting a fourth-quarter rally. Taviron Oliver scored 22 and Kyndal Martin 20 for Arkansas, which already owns a 72-54 win this season at the Cats’ District 14-4A rival Pleasant Grove.
Robinson scored 37 points, 28 in the first half, to lead Paris past New Boston. Pipkins added 14, and sophomore Vershaud Richardson scored 8.
Pipkins, who was the lone Paris representative on the all-tournament team, scored 30 in the consolation finale against Daingerfield, which held a 12-11 lead after one period. After the Cats took a 30-23 halftime lead, they limited the Tigers to 13 points in the second half.
Senior 6-6 post Sam Hawkes nailed seven 3-pointers to finish with 21 points,
Paris hosts Sulphur Springs on Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym. The Hopkins County Wildcats are 12-1 for the season and come into the game off a win over Class 3A No. 5 Peaster to capture the Central Heights Tournament.
VFW essay winners (from left) Zach Lamb, Anthony Pierotti, Matthew Cochran
Paris High seniors swept this year’s VFW Voice of Democracy Essay Contest. Anthony Pierotti was first, Matthew Cochran second, and Zach Lamb third. All three students will be recognized at a dinner in their honor on Dec. 20, and Pierotti’s essay advances to regional competition.
Josh Robinson gets a floater over the Tigers’ James Moore to fall for 2 of his 40 points
Paris Wildcats head coach Billy Mack Steed thought his team’s unbeaten streak was over when he called his first timeout just three minutes into Tuesday’s clash of 18th-ranked basketball squads in the Wildcat Gym. Class 5A Mount Pleasant had just jumped out to a 9-0 lead over Class 4A Paris.
“We couldn’t hit anything and Number 44 (MP’s 6-5 senior James Moore) was hitting from everywhere.” Steed said
Fortunately, Steed has two of the state’s top offensive weapons in his arsenal and their teammates played major complementary roles to stem the Tiger tide and completely turn the game’s momentum. The Cats soon owned a double-digit lead which they maintained until the final 3 minutes when a furious finish created some anxious moments in an 83-76 Paris win.
Paris remained unbeaten at 6-0, while MP left town with a 5-2 mark.
The Wildcats’ 6-5 junior scoring machine, Josh Robinson, led the way with 40 points, his third 40-point game of the young season. Senior Jalon Pipkins, the 6-4 silky smooth senior, added 19 including a thundering breakaway slam and some clutch fourth-quarter foul shots.
Perhaps most satisfying to Steed was the performance of his role players, the guys who operate in the shadows of Robinson and Pipkins. The development of the supporting cast will ultimately decide the success of the 2016-17 season.
Senior Tavon Lawrence connected on a trio of 3-pointers among his 13 overall points, and sophomore junior Cameron Jones nailed a corner 3 just before the halftime buzzer to send the teams to intermission with Paris ahead, 39-28.
Meanwhile, inside starters Sam Hawkes and Vershaud Richardson along with reserves Jalen Easter, Perry Franklin, and Demetric Glover challenged Moore and his Tiger teammates and kept MP from completely dominating the paint.
Following Steed’s early timeout, the Cats began chipping away at the Tiger lead, which was just 17-13 after the first break. Paris started the second period on a 7-0 run punctuated by Pipkins’ dunk to take permanent command of the scoreboard at 20-17.
A NBA-range 3 by Robinson banked off the glass to give the Cats their first double-digit lead at 32-21. After back-to-back field goals by MP cut the lead to 36-28, Jones answered with his 3-pointer.
The advantage would grow to as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but Robinson picked up his fourth personal foul with just 0.3 left in the period and would sit out the first 1:28 of the final quarter. More importantly, his foul trouble weakened the Cats’ defense the rest of the way.
Outstanding MP point guard Josh McGill led a frantic Tiger rally, scoring 12 of his team-leading 22 points in the fourth quarter, but poor MP foul shooting (48% on 12 of 25 shots) hurt the visitors. By contrast, Pipkins (6 of 6) and Robinson (4 of 4) were perfect at the foul line for Paris in the final frame. For the game, the Cats shot a healthy 75% from the line (18 of 24), which proved to be the ultimate difference-maker.
Moore finished with 20 points for MP, and Kevin Savage added 11.
Paris won both sub-varsity games. The freshmen won, 50-42, while the JV score was 59-52.
The Cats’ next action will be at the New Boston Gunslingers Tournament where they open on Thursday with a 4:50 p.m. date against a tough Arkansas High team (4-1). If they win, they face a potential Friday match against Hope, AK, which already owns a win over the Hot Springs team that dominated the field at last year’s Paris Invitational.
The district champion Paris Wildcats dominated the 7-4A Division I honor roll as selected by league coaches. The Cats finished with a 9-4 season mark after completing a perfect 5-0 run through district.
Quarterback Ja’Kerion Brown was named District MVP after switching positions to quarterback for his senior season. He rushed for 1,130 yards and passed for another 1,177. Senior teammate TD Williams was the Defensive MVP after intercepting 7 passes, 5 during district play.
Junior running back Donovan Williams was tabbed as co-Offensive MVP. Williams rushed for 1,637 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he caught 5 passes for 81 yards and 2 more TDs. Senior offensive guard Mitchell Cole received co-Lineman MVP honors.
First team selections on offense went to junior tackle Ashton Savage and senior wide receiver Jalon Pipkins. Defensive first team picks were senior cornerback Jaylen Smith, sophomore end Vershaud Richardson, senior middle linebacker Dre McKinney, senior outside linebacker Tyrel McCalester, junior safety Jordan Furtch, and senior place kicker Zach Lamb.
All-District Selections (Position):
TAFE Regional Contestants (from left) Sponsor Emily Steele, Aislinn Taylor, Kaitlynn Hutchins, Carol Sanchez, Itzuri Ramirez, Bailey Bristow, Alexandra Hernandez, Malaree Wise, Alissa Penny, Maria Gonzalez
The Paris High chapter of TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators) recently competed in their regional contest in Mount Pleasant with six students qualifying to advance to the state contest at UT-Arlington in February. Senior Malaree Wise qualified for state in three events: Impromptu Speaking, Job Interview, and Chapter Scrapbook (along with senior Bailey Bristow and sophomore Alissa Penny). Juniors Itzuri Ramirez and Alexandra Hernandez with sophomore Carol Sanchez qualified for Project Visualize. The chapter sponsor is Emily Steele.
Paris High senior Phillip Sikes signs a letter-of-intent to attend the University of New Mexico on a baseball scholarship to play for the Lobos. Sikes was the District 15-4A Co-Defensive MVP and All-Red River Valley Co-MVP last season playing shortstop and pitching for the Wildcats. He has been a starter for the Cats’ baseball team since his freshman season.
It’s been not quite a month into the new basketball season and the Paris Ladycats have already equalled last year’s win total. They’ve shown significant improvement in several areas, notably on defense and ball distribution on offense.
Still, flaws in other areas are leading to missed opportunities in crunch time as was evident in a 60-56 loss to Emory Rains Monday night in their Wildcat Gym home opener. Paris (4-9) held a 3-point lead on 3 separate occasions in the fourth period, the last time at 47-44, but ball-handing turnovers and numerous missed shots in the paint enabled Rains (5-7) to escape with a pre-district victory.
The Rains Lady Cats scored the first 7 points of the game and held a 12-2 lead when Paris coach Deanne Dial called her first timeout with 3:22 left in the opening quarter. Rains had hit on a trio of 3-point shots in the opening minutes and connected on 6 in the game.
Paris countered with some perimeter pressure with steals and fast-break layups by Serenity Sanders, Drea Jenkins, and Taj Reeves to trim the advantage to 18-12 heading into the second quarter. The home town Ladycats used a 6-0 burst to begin the second frame to tie the score at 18 on a 15-footer by Dextiny Patrick.
Sophomore post Peaches Jackson (pictured left) also dropped in 11 of her game-high 31 points in the second period, but Rains took a 30-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
A Jackson breakaway layup gave Paris its first lead, 39-38, midway through the third quarter, and another fast-break finisher by Sanders had Paris up, 41-40, at the end of three periods.
Then the turnover bug and missed chances from the field and free throw line (where Paris converted 38% on 10 of 26 shots) proved fatal. A Jackson layup off a wrap-around feed by Sanders had Paris in front for the final time at 49-48 with four minutes remaining.
A defensive breakdown on a layup by Rains’ Autumn Terry put the visitors back in front for good at 50-49 and a 3-pointer by Vivian Bradshaw proved to be the game-winner at 59-53.
Senior point guard Kenna Kellum led Rains with 22 points, while Terry scored 17. Jenkins was the only other Paris player in double figures with 10.
Paris won both sub-varsity games. The freshman claimed a 30-8 win, while the JV won, 41-23.
The Ladycats’ JV and varsity are back in action Friday when they travel to Cooper for a pair of games.
Each month Paris High staff recognizes a student who goes above and beyond the norm of student expectations to help make the school a better place for learning. The November winner is sophomore Skyler Bryan. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
A group of 13 Paris High students qualified for the state finals of various contests for the Texas Association of Future Eductors during regionals held recently in Pittsburg. Read more.
Paris High students (from left) Jake Freelen, Nick Leija, Nicholas Reed, Rhea Tabora, and Rowan Burns will advance to Area Choir auditions on Jan. 13 at A&M-Commerce as the result of pre-area auditions held recently. Read more.
Wildcats Come Home. After spending the first three weeks of the 2017-18 boys basketball season on the road, the Paris Wildcats continue a long homestand Monday when they host the Greenville Lions for three games in the Wildcat Gym. The freshmen game tips off at 5 p.m. followed by JV (about 6:30) and varsity (8). The Cats will host Mount Pleasant Thursday, Dec. 21, before taking time off for the Christmas holidays.