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This Jalon Pipkins dunk sent Paris to an 11-10 lead the Cats would not surrender as they gave coach Billy Mack Steed his 10th straight 20-win season Tuesday at North Lamar (photo by Joe Watson)
Before the season began, veteran Paris head basketball coach Billy Mack Steed and assistant Roy Tom Stone took a copy of their team’s 2016-17 schedule and projected wins and losses. They arrived at a final tally of 17 wins.
Most high school coaches would consider 17 wins a successful season, but not Steed. Tuesday night his team ensured their coach’s streak of 20-win seasons for the 10th time in Steed’s 10-year tenure at the school when they methodically dispatched the North Lamar Panthers, 53-39, before a large crowd in the Panther Gym.
Before the season began, Steed knew he faced a tough rebuilding job minus a trio of graduated seniors who had accounted for an incredible 68-4 mark and back-to-back appearances in the regional tournament the past two seasons. But the cupboard wasn’t bare. He still had two of the best players in the region returning and a penchant for playing tough defense.
That scenario was evident in Tuesday’s win. The Wildcat team defense held the Panthers to 10 points or less in each quarter, while Josh Robinson and Jalon Pipkins provided enough offense (23 and 22 points, respectively) to keep Paris perfect at 6-0 in District 14-4A. The Cats, 16th-ranked in Class 4A, are now 20-4 for the season.
“We played great defense, especially in the first half,” Steed said afterwards. “Anytime you can hold an opponent under 40 points, you’re doing something right.”
Panther coach Homer Garner used a deliberate offense to slow the pace of the game and hoped that his team could hit enough outside shots to fuel an upset. The strategy worked early when Jay Walters and Tyler Hill knocked down 3’s and Sam Asay had a couple of layups to stake NL to a 10-6 lead.
Robinson responded with a long 3, and Pipkins added to his highlight reel with a steal and reverse, 2-handed dunk (see picture above) to give Paris an 11-10 lead it would not surrender the rest of the evening.
Pipkins added a pull-up jumper in the lane and senior Tavon Lawrence chased down a long rebound and fired a corner 3 to send the Cats to a 16-10 advantage at the first break. By halftime Paris enjoyed a 31-19 lead and important control of the game’s momentum.
On 3 occasions in the second half the Panthers were able to trim the deficit to 8, but each time the Cats would find an answer. On the last occasion, a Pipkins floater followed by a steal and slam gave the Cats some breathing room at 50-38 with 2:37 left.
Hill led the Panthers with 16 points, while Walters finished with 10. Neither team was especially sharp at the foul line. NL made just 10 of 20 free throws, while Paris was 4 of 14.
Paris now turns its attention to a Friday matchup with Pleasant Grove (5-1) in the Wildcat Gym with first place in the district at stake. A Wildcat win would virtually wrap up a third straight district title. NL, meanwhile, falls to 2-4 in district and tied with Liberty-Eylau for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Panthers host Atlanta (0-6) Friday. Pittsburg remains in third at 3-3.
Before the season began, Steed wasn’t sure another district title was in the immediate future.
“You’d have to say they’re over-achievers,” Steed complimented his 2016-17 squad.
North Lamar senior guard Madison Morrison scored 32 points, including 19 in the second quarter when the Pantherettes outscored the Paris Ladycats, 26-12, on their way to a 72-39 romp Monday night in the Panther Gym.
The loss ended the Ladycats’ slim hopes of making the postseason. Atlanta made it official on Tuesday when the Lady Rabbits edged Liberty-Eylau, 69-68.
With two games remaining on the District 14-4A girls schedule, Pleasant Grove leads the pack at 7-1, followed by NL 6-2, Atlanta 5-3, L-E 4-4, Paris 2-6, and Pittsburg 0-8. The Ladycats could still tie L-E for the fourth and final playoff berth, but L-E owns the tiebreaker by virtue of a series sweep over Paris.
Paris hosts PG Friday in the Wildcat Gym. It will be Senior Night.
As for Monday’s crosstown encounter, the Pantherettes broke the Ladycats’ full-court press to get some wide-open shots and continually poached the passing lanes for fast-break layups to quickly end any intrigue. Buckets by Paris posts Peaches Jackson and Dextiny Patrick to start the second quarter trimmed the NL lead to 23-16 when the Pantherettes blitzed the Ladycats on a 24-6 run to take a 47-22 advantage into halftime.
In addition to Morrison’s 32, Sydnee Prunty added 10 and Bailee Nickerson 9 for NL. Jackson topped Paris with 18 and Patrick scored 11.
Although small in numbers, the Paris Ladycats powerlifting team came up big in results Saturday, placing fourth at the Sulphur Springs Invitational. The Wildcat boys, meanwhile, finished 10th overall.
Junior Jayla Sims and senior Jorden Kimble won their weight classes on the girls side. Junior Travius Bronner finished second in his class to pace the boys results.
The PHS lifters are scheduled to attend a meet Saturday in Lone Oak in their next action.
Boys results (squat-bench press-deadlift—total):
Girls results (squat-bench press-deadlift—total):
From left, PHS seniors Mitchell Cole, TD Williams, Dre McKinney, and Dextiny Patrick watch highlights from the 2016 football season prior to signing letters-of-intent to play college sports
Three Paris High seniors signed letters-of-intent to play football at the collegiate level, while another athlete will be playing college volleyball. The foursome inked their deals on National Signing Day Wednesday before a crowd of family, friends, and teammates gathered in the school cafeteria.
Mitchell Cole and TD Williams signed to play football at Southern Arkansas University. Dre McKinney will play football at Navarro Junior College, and Dextiny Patrick will play volleyball at Allen Community College in Kansas.
Cole was the District 7-4A-I co-Lineman MVP and started at offensive guard for three seasons at PHS. Williams played safety and was the district’s Defensive MVP. McKinney was the team’s leading tackler and was named Second Team All-State.
Patrick was selected to the District 14-4A First Team as a middle blocker.
Previously, Phillip Sikes signed a letter-of-intent to play baseball at the University of New Mexico during the early signing period in December.
Senior Christian Mitchell scored twice, including the game-winner with 15 minutes left in the Paris Wildcats’ 3-2 win at Crandall Friday.
Mitchell and sophomore Kyler Beshirs gave the Cats (8-3-3) a 2-1 halftime lead, but the Pirates tied the match at 2-2 before Mitchell’s 13th goal of the season put Paris in front to stay.
“It was a nice win for us,” Paris head coach Jeremy Beshirs said about the Pirates, who could be a potential playoff opponent for the Wildcats. “We had a couple of defensive lapses, but Christian came up big for us.”
Senior Colin Harris logged a pair of assists in the match. Paris travels to Pleasant Grove Friday for a final pre-district tuneup before starting District 11-4A play on Feb. 14 vs. North Lamar at Wildcat Stadium.
The Paris Wildcats finished the halfway mark of the District 14-4A boys basketball race Friday night with an 86-44 rout of the Pittsburg Pirates in the Wildcat Gym. At 19-4, the 16th-ranked Cats are just a win away of handing Billy Mack Steed his 10th straight 20-win season as Paris head coach.
Earlier in the evening, Ladycats head coach Deanne Dial (shown right in picture by Joe Watson) hugged players on her bench as her team finished a similar 67-41 rout over the Pittsburg girls. At 9-19, her Ladycats will need a miracle finish to make the playoffs.
Tough district losses by margins of 3, 2, and 1 point have taken an emotional toll on Dial and her team in her second season at the Paris helm. The 2015-16 season saw the Paris girls go winless in district, losing by an average of 21 points per game.
The current Ladycats have shown marked improvement. They probably won’t finish in the district cellar this time, but at 2-5 they’re 2 games out of the fourth and final playoff berth with just 3 games left. Turn around the outcomes of those three close decisions and they would be battling for a district title.
Instead, Pleasant Grove, which lost its first district game Friday, 70-60, to Atlanta, leads the girls chase at 6-1. North Lamar beat Liberty-Eylau, 48-38, to take over second place at 6-2. L-E and Atlanta are tied for third with 4-3 records. Pitt remained winless at 0-7.
Paris makes the short trip across town Monday for a rematch with North Lamar. The Ladycats lost a heartbreaker to the Pantherettes, 56-54, two weeks ago in a controversial finish.
That loss seemed to have a residual effect on the Ladycats, who appeared lifeless in their next two games, losing by 17 and 16 points. The setback was a distant memory Friday as Paris posts Peaches Jackson and Dextiny Patrick dominated the Lady Pirates from the opening tip.
Paris held a 16-8 lead after one quarter and doubled up on Pitt, 36-18, by halftime. The Ladycats led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter before Pitt trimmed the lead to 15 against the Paris reserves. Dial re-inserted her starters to solidify the outcome.
Jackson took game-high honors with 30 points, while Patrick scored 18. Nautica Harris added 10. Star Smith led Pitt with 16.
Despite not having an especially sharp shooting night, the Wildcat boys also made quick work of their Pitt opponents. Paris led, 24-8, at the first break and went to the locker room at halftime with a 42-18 advantage.
Josh Robinson eclipsed the 40-point mark for the fourth time this season but the first time since Dec. 6. He finished with 41 points, while Jalon Pipkins had 23. They collected a pair of dunks each, but the crowd’s biggest cheer was saved for senior Sam Hawkes’ breakaway slam to close out the game (see photo left).
Paris (5-0) begins the second half of district Tuesday at NL, which clipped L-E, 45-43, on Friday. PG topped Atlanta, 74-49 in other district action. PG (4-1) visits the Wildcat Gym next Friday, Feb. 3. Pitt (3-2) is in third place followed by NL (2-3), L-E (1-4), and Atlanta (0-5).
Paris swept sub-varsity games vs. Pitt. The Ladycats’ JV won, 61-24, while the JV boys were 72-42 winners and the Cat freshmen won, 62-24.
The Paris Wildcats’ recent history of slow starts fortunately didn’t hold form in Tuesday’s District 14-4A road trip to Liberty-Eylau. The Cats dropped in five 3-pointers in a 27-8 opening quarter, then held off a late Leopard charge to win, 76-66.
The Ladycats, meanwhile, used a 21-12 fourth quarter finish to erase a double-digit deficit before the Lady Leopards curbed the comeback with a 55-54 L-E win.
The 16th-ranked Paris boys, now 18-4, host Pittsburg in the Wildcat Gym Friday with first place on the line at the midpoint of district play. The Cats top the standings with a 4-0 mark, while Pitt and Pleasant Grove are tied for second at 3-1. L-E and North Lamar are tied for fourth at 1-3, while Atlanta is 0-4.
While all four of the Cats’ district wins have been by double digits, poor shooting starts had plagued them in their previous three games. Paris was tied by PG and Atlanta and led NL by a single point at halftime of those games.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday. Paris, which knocked down nine 3-pointers in the game, took a 40-27 lead to the locker room at L-E’s Rader Dome and still led by 13 points, 62-49, heading into the fourth quarter. The Leopards went on a 13-0 run between the third and fourth quarters to cut the deficit to 5, 62-57, with 5 minutes left in the game.
While L-E held Paris without a field goal in the final frame until 1:39 was left, the Cats converted 15 of 23 free throws off 20 Leopard fouls to ensure the win.
Josh Robinson and Jalon Pipkins, as usual, led the way with 28 and 24 points, respectively. Sam Hawkes added 10 and Vershaud Richardson scored 9. Decorian Phillips topped L-E with 21.
The Ladycats fell to 8-19 for the season and 1-5 in district with their loss, but they didn’t show the same lethargy they experienced last week in losses to PG and Atlanta.
After trailing, 26-22, at the half, the Ladycats tied the Lady Leopards at 31 in the fourth quarter before L-E went on a 12-0 run. The Paris girls staged a comeback and eventually took a 2-point lead with 2 minutes remaining before the hosts scored 5 straight to regain the lead.
With Peaches Jackson held to 14 points, Paris had more balanced scoring from teammates. Drea Jenkins produced 8 points, and five other Ladycats had at least 5 points each. L-E’s Taylor Crabtree topped all scorers with 18.
The Paris Wildcats scored a goal off a set piece with 31:41 remaining, then made it stand up for a 1-0 soccer win over the Anna Coyotes Tuesday night at Wildcat Stadium. Paris, now 7-3-3 for the season, travels to Crandall Friday to continue the pre-district portion of its schedule.
After a scoreless first half, the Cats found the Coyote net on a 40-yard free kick from senior Seth Hudgins (shown left in photo by Joe Watson). Senior Colin Harris’ attempt at a header distracted the Anna goalie to allow the ball to bounce into the goal.
Paris had a 12-7 advantage in scoring opportunities. Wildcat senior goalie Cade Blackmon made a couple of nice saves to preserve the shutout.
The Wildcats have additional pre-district matches at Tyler Chapel Hill on Jan 31 and at Pleasant Grove on Feb. 3 before starting defense of their three-time district championships on Feb. 14 vs. North Lamar.
The Cats’ JV squad won the preliminary game, 2-0, over the Anna JV.
Paris High will send eight swimmers to the Region 3 Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 3-4 in Frisco after qualifying at the recent District 12-5A Championships. The PHS boys swimming team (above) finished third at district to Highland Park and Lucas Lovejoy. They are (above from left) Keyton Gilbert, Brendan Henry, Coach Seanda Gilbert, Graham Bain, Dalton Kee. The girls team also was third behind Highland Park and Lovejoy. They are (below) Andria Gentry, Sydney Walter, Coach Gilbert, Reagan Stone, Shelby Wilson. The Swim Cats advanced 3 relay teams to regionals along with Gilbert, Stone, and Wilson in individual events. Walter is a freshmen, Bain, Gentry, and Stone are juniors, and the rest are seniors.
The Paris Ladycats were introduced to elite level club soccer Monday night in a 5-0 setback at Celina, led by senior Haley Berg’s 4 goals.
Berg, a member of the U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team, committed to play for the University of Texas before her freshman year. Her high school didn’t even field a soccer team until her junior season. The Lady Bobcats (6-3-1) are at the mercy of her rigorous club schedule, but when she’s on the field she’s a game-changer as Paris (6-5-1) discovered first-hand Monday.
The Ladycats have a two-week lull in their schedule before they host Pleasant Grove on Friday, Feb. 3, at Wildcat Stadium.
Both Paris High varsity soccer teams wrapped up play in their final pre-district tournaments with 2-2 records at separate venues Saturday.
The Ladycats (6-4-1) fell to Little Elm, 4-0, in the semifinals of the Highway 5 Invitational. They opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Midlothian Heritage on Thursday before a pair of wins Friday to finish as runnerup in group play.
The Paris girls beat co-host Anna, 4-2, with junior Estephany Balderas scoring twice and providing an assist. Other goals were by senior Tieren Gates and freshman Grace Woodby, while junior Katy Hall notched a pair of assists.
The Ladycats then beat Dumas, 2-0, behind goals by Gates and junior Laney Madding. Senior goalkeeper Lindi Hamner stopped a penalty kick to earn the shutout.
The Wildcats (6-3-3) opened play Thursday at the Terrell Tournament with a 1-0 win over Kaufman before falling to No. 1-ranked Palestine, 2-0. They returned Friday to drop a 3-1 decision to Midlothian Heritage. Sophomore Alan Garcia provided the lone Paris goal in that match.
On Saturday they finished tournament plan with a 3-2 win over Athens. Paris jumped out to a 2-0 halftime lead and led, 3-0, before Athens scored a pair of second-half goals. Wildcat seniors Colin Harris, Zach Lamb, and Christian Mitchell each scored for Paris.
The Ladycats travel to Celina Monday for a varsity-only match, while both Wildcats JV and varsity teams host Anna on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.
For the third straight time in district action, cold first-half shooting continued to plague the 17th-ranked Paris Wildcats Friday night before a second-half explosion resulted in another double-digit win. The Cats eventually destroyed the Atlanta Rabbs, 81-51, in the Wildcat Gym.
Earlier, the Ladycats lost to the Lady Rabbs (2-3), 63-47, to fall to 1-4 in District 14-4A at the midpoint of the girls race. Sophomore Peaches Jackson scored 24 for Paris, now 8-18 overall and 1-4 in district. Pleasant Grove (5-0) remained unbeaten Friday with a 65-58 win over Liberty-Eylau (3-2). North Lamar (4-1) beat Pittsburg (0-5), 51-47.
The Wildcats, 17-4 for the season and 3-0 in district, hold a one-game lead in the boys chase over Pleasant Grove and Pittsburg each with 2-1 records. NL and L-E are tied for fourth at 1-2, while Atlanta is winless at 0-3. PG beat L-E, 66-54, and Pitt beat NL in overtime, 46-42, in other Friday action.
Josh Robinson gets a breakaway slam among his game-high 32 points in this photo by Joe Watson.
Slow starts have been the norm for the Paris boys. The Cats led NL by only 1 and were tied with PG and Atlanta at halftime of those district games. Still, Paris has the dynamic scoring duo of Jalen Pipkins and Josh Robinson in the bank. Pipkins had just 5 points at halftime but heated up in the second half to finish with 29. Robinson led all scorers with 32.
As a team, Paris made just 2 of their 17 attempts beyond the 3-point line in the first half and weren’t much better from inside the arc.
“That was the worst-shooting half we’ve had in a long time,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said.
Atlanta, meanwhile, dropped in four 3-pointers and finished on a 6-0 scoring run to tie Paris at halftime, 28-28. As usual, the Cats turned up the defensive intensity after halftime and began pressing the Rabbs into mistakes.
“We’re not very good at pressing,” Steed said, “but we wanted to get the game to a faster pace.”
It worked to the tune of a 29-7 third quarter advantage that quickly put the game out of reach. Paris led by as many as 35 points (74-39) before Steed pulled his starters off the court.
Tavon Lawrence scored 11 off the bench to finish as the only other Wildcat in double figures. Quentin Rowe scored 20 and Charlie Dowe had 15 for Atlanta.
Paris returns to Texarkana Tuesday to play L-E, then returns home next Friday to host Pittsburg.
The Paris Wildcats split their opening matches, while the Ladycats lost their opener as both squads began tournament action at separate venues Thursday.
The Ladycats fell to Midlothian Heritage, 2-0, in group play at the Highway 5 Invitational co-hosted by Anna and Melissa. Although Heritage is in its first year of UIL competition, the fast-growing school has a strong senior class and is expected to be bumped up to Class 5A or even 6A at the next realignment.
The Paris girls (4-3-1) continue group play Friday with an 11:30 a.m. match vs. Anna, then have a long wait until their 7:30 p.m. game vs. Dumas. Anna beat Dumas, 4-1, in group play on Thursday. Finals will be held on Saturday.
The Paris boys (5-2-3) beat their recent playoff nemesis Kaufman, 1-0, in Thursday’s group opener at the Terrell Tournament. Sophomore Kyler Beshirs scored the lone goal off a cross from senior Colin Harris. The Lions had knocked the Cats out of the playoffs the past two seasons.
The Cats had a quick turnaround and had to face defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Palestine just 2 hours later. They lost, 2-0, but coach Jeremy Beshirs was pleased with the effort.
“I felt we outplayed them in the first half but missed some good opportunities,” he said. “We got tired in the second half.”
The match was scoreless at halftime. Palestine scored twice in the second half, including a penalty kick off a handball in the box with 8 minutes left.
The Cats finish group play Friday with a 5:30 p.m. match vs. Midlothian Heritage, which also lost to Palestine Thursday by a score of 2-1.
Senior Jorden Kimble won her weight class to lead the Ladycat powerlifters to a 9th-place showing Thursday at their first meet of the season at S&S Consolidated.
Other points were scored by junior Jayla Sims (4th) and junior Anna Perez (6th). The meet drew 220 lifters.
The Wildcat powerlifters traveled to S&S Consolidated on Saturday for their meet attended by 218 lifters.
Girls results (squat-bench press-deadlift--total):
Jalon Pipkins leaps skyward to execute a backwards overhead, two-handed slam in the Wildcats’ district win at Pleasant Grove
Pleasant Grove hung around for three quarters but the strain of covering two of the region’s best offensive stars proved too much for the Hawks to overcome as the 17th-ranked Paris Wildcats used runs of 8-0 and 13-2 as a cushion to a 68-55 win Tuesday in the Hawk Gym.
Paris, 16-4 overall, is off to a good start in its District 14-4A title defense. The Cats are the lone unbeaten team at 2-0. PG, Liberty-Eylau, North Lamar, and Pittsburg are a game back at 1-1, while Atlanta is 0-2.
Pitt beat L-E, 34-33, and NL beat Atlanta, 51-36, in other district action Tuesday. The Cats host Atlanta Friday in the Wildcat Gym.
“That was a good game tonight,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said. “It was a good win for us. They’re a very good team.”
PG (13-7) used some sharp shooting to remain tied with Paris at halftime, 33-33. The Cats turned up their defensive intensity to cut down on those open looks in the second half. Paris took a 43-41 advantage into the final quarter. Then the floor caved in for the Hawks. The Cats’ dynamic scoring duo of Jalon Pipkins and Josh Robinson each scored 4 points to pad the lead to 51-41.
“They were able to stay with us as long as the lead was 6 points or less because they can hit a couple of 3’s and get back in it,” Steed said. “Once we got the lead to double digits, they probably got a little discouraged.”
Robinson and Pipkins finished tied for game-high honors with 25 points each. Each scored 9 in the Cats’ 25-14 final period. Another spectacular dunk by Pipkins on a backwards, overhead, 2-hand putdown (pictured above) stretched the Paris lead to 17 points, 66-49, before the Hawks closed with back-to-back 3 pointers.
Sam Hawkes pitched in 8 points, all in the second half, and helped a team rebounding presence that cut down on second-chance opportunities for the Hawks. Paris out-rebounded PG, 30-28.
PG had 4 players in double figures, topped by senior guard Connor Oullette’s 17. Cory Jones scored 12, while Aaron Harmon and Xavier Benson managed 10 each.
The teams split their sub-varsity games. The Paris freshmen won, 65-50, while the Hawks took the JV game, 81-43.
Ladycats Fall to Lady Hawks, 64-47
The Paris Ladycats, meanwhile, fell behind early and could never recover in a 64-47 loss to the district-leading Lady Hawks despite getting 30 points from sophomore Peaches Jackson.
Paris, 8-17 overall and 1-3 in district, had problems with PG’s full-court pressure and committed 7 turnovers in the opening quarter to fall behind, 20-10. The halftime score was 38-23 with 8 more Paris turnovers in the second quarter.
The Lady Hawks, a young team with 2 freshmen and a sophomore in the starting lineup, are 4-0 heading into a district midpoint showdown with crosstown rival Liberty-Eylau Friday. Freshman Sha’Nequa Henry topped PG with 23. Monique Walker scored 15 and Madeline Haak 12.
Serenity Sanders scored 12 for Paris, which hosts Atlanta Friday in a game that will be a key to the Ladycats’ chances of extending their season into the playoffs. PG won the JV game, 47-29.
The Paris Ladycats battled the Kaufman Lady Lions to a 1-1 tie Tuesday night in a pre-district match played in Kaufman. The goal was scored by junior midfielder Estephany Balderas, assisted by junior forward Katy Hall.
Paris, now 4-2-1, will play in a tournament co-hosted by Melissa and Anna this weekend. They open with a 10 a.m. match Thursday against Midlothian Heritage.
The Paris Wildcats were idle Tuesday. They were scheduled to play at Marshall, but that match was cancelled due to a miscommunication. They open play in the Terrell Tournament Thursday against Kaufman then face defending state champion Palestine just two hours later.
The Paris Wildcats unleashed another weapon in their offensive arsenal Saturday as they began defense of their district basketball title with a 69-53 win over North Lamar in the Wildcat Gym.
Well-known to regional basketball fans are the scoring exploits of senior Jalon Pipkins (averaging 20 points a game) and junior Josh Robinson (27 average). Senior starters Tavon Lawrence and Sam Hawkes have shown a 3-point shooting touch during the Cats’ 14-4 season start.
In the District 14-4A opener, 6-5 sophomore post Vershaud Richardson also showed he’s worth the attention of opponents’ defenses by contributing 22 points, 13 in the second half as Paris pulled away from a 31-30 halftime lead. With the Panther defense over-extending to cover the Cats’ perimeter, Richardson showed a deft touch to finish in the paint or draw fouls (he was 6 of 8 from the foul line).
Josh Robinson (14) drives the lane, draws a crowd of 4 Panthers on defense, and dishes to a wide-open Vershaud Richardson (12) for 2 of his 22 points
On several occasions, Pipkins or Robinson would drive the lane, draw up to 4 NL defenders, and dish to Richardson for an easy bucket.
“Believe it or not, that’s been the plan all year,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said. “Work it inside first. They (Panthers) ran at the kids outside, and the passing lanes were open.”
Pipkins and Robinson once again proved neither is a one-trick pony. Robinson finished with a game-high 24 points (10 in a 21-9 third quarter where the Cats took over the pace of the game), 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. Pipkins, held to 2 points in the first half, finished with 12 points, 5 assists, and 7 rebounds. Richardson had a double-double with 13 rebounds to go along with his 22 points.
Menderiz Gray was the only Panther in double figures with 10 points, but he was scoreless in the second half.
Paris held a 13-12 lead after the opening quarter as NL coach Homer Garner worked hard to keep the game tight. The Panthers called their 3rd of 5 allowed timeouts with still 4:39 left until halftime after 6-5 senior post Jake Stewart picked up his third personal foul.
The Cats pulled away to a 31-24 lead before the Panthers closed out the half on a 6-0 run ended by Gray’s drive to beat the buzzer.
Pipkins found his range in the second half to join Robinson and Richardson as point producers. At the same time, the Panthers began missing from outside.
A Pipkins outlet pass to Robinson produced the first dunk of the evening and a 50-36 Paris advantage. Pipkins missed a spectacular breakaway one-handed windmill dunk plus a two-handed putback on the same Paris possession, and Josh Dangerfield knocked down a Panther 3 on the other end to cut the deficit to 50-39.
Richardson curbed the Panthers’ comeback hopes with a follow shot to make it 52-39. By the time Garner called his final timeout with 5:39 remaining, the lead had ballooned to 56-39.
The other excitement remaining were two more Paris dunks: a Robinson self-feeding pass off the glass on a breakaway and a Pipkins putback jam.
Paris, 15-4 and ranked 16th in the state coaches’ poll, plays at Pleasant Grove on Tuesday before returning to the Wildcat Gym on Friday to host Atlanta. PG (13-6) beat Pittsburg, 58-47, while Liberty-Eylau defeated Atlanta, 57-43, in other district openers.
Paris won both sub-varsity games vs. NL. The Cat freshmen won, 62-49, with 4 players in double figures: Trevon Dennis 13, Jameon Mitchell 12, Gavyn Hollje 11, and Tray Johnson 10. The JV took a 58-52 decision as Zyan King led the way with 18 and T. J. Williams added 10.
All eyes are on the basket as a long shot by Madison Morrison (lower left corner) finds the net
Nobody can accuse the Paris Ladycats basketball of not playing with heart and hustle. Twice they rallied from 11-point deficits to take the lead in Friday’s District 14-4A showdown with crosstown rival North Lamar in the Wildcat Gym.
In the end, however, they left the court heart-broken after a 56-54 loss to the Pantherettes who, for the second straight year, departed the Paris gym as last-shot victors. In 2016, it was a Bailey Jones layup that beat the buzzer to lift NL to a 51-49 win. This time it was Madison Morrison who took an inbounds pass with 0.5 second left on the clock, turned to face the basket, and fired a long 3-pointer that found the net.
It proved to be the game-winner, but it wasn’t a buzzer-beater. At the end of the play, as NL players and fans erupted with joy, the scoreboard still read the same 0.5. Time stood still as the 3 officials huddled and agreed to count the basket.
Video timecode would later show that it took Morrison 0.63 second from the time she touched the inbounds pass to the point that the ball left her hands to get off the shot. The 0.13 second discrepancy was too small for human detection, especially without benefit of a running clock and horn.
The crew made the only decision they could rightly justify. Although emotionally distraught, the Ladycats had only themselves to blame after losing control of the game and a 50-44 lead with 3 minutes remaining.
That same heart and hustle became a liability over the final minutes.
Paris sophomore Peaches Jackson led a second-quarter comeback from a 16-5 hole by scoring 13 of her game-high 35 points to gain a 26-26 halftime tie, When the Ladycats fell behind, 43-32, to start the fourth quarter, it was Jackson again with 13 more points to fuel an 18-1 Paris run to achieve that 50-44 advantage.
That’s when the situation went south for the Ladycats, who tried to force an inbounds pass to a triple-teamed Jackson in the post. It led to an NL breakaway and two free throws by Morrison to make it a 50-46 game.
Instead of milking the clock, Paris then put up a forced shot that was blocked by Sydnee Prunty. The Pantherettes worked the ball to a wide-open McKayla Figueroa who hit a 3-pointer off the glass.
The lead was down to 50-49 when Serenity Sanders found Jackson again for a 3-point play that made it 53-49, but a left-open Figueroa connected from the baseline after an assist by Morrison to make it 53-51.
Paris failed to score on its next possession but got the ball back on a press steal with 1:15 remaining. Again, the Ladycats forced a shot when they didn’t have the numbers (2 on 3).
Figueroa made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 1-point game, 53-52, with 1:01 to go. Once more Paris tried to feed Jackson in the paint, but the pass was knocked away by Summer Andrews.
Morrison missed on a baseline drive, Paris was fouled on the rebound, but missed both foul shots. For the game, Paris was just 12 of 29 on free throws (42%), while NL made 20 of 33 (61%).
Dextiny Patrick tipped the second foul miss to Serenity Sanders. After a timeout, Sanders made 1 of 2 from the foul line to extend the lead to 54-52 with 24.6 seconds left.
Patrick then stole the inbounds pass and put up a layup that sailed over the rim and bounced off the glass into the corner where Morrison was granted control. NL almost lost the ball in the frontcourt, but Morrison picked up the ball, drove the lane and missed a 5-footer. There’s a tie ball on the rebound with 2.1 seconds left and the possession arrow in NL’s favor.
On the inbounds play, NL sent 3 players into the paint. and Abbie Fischer slipped off a screen to take the pass and put up a baseline shot that hits the side padding. A popular and well-respected Ladycat senior had the rebound but was called for a foul. In the heat of the moment, she slammed the ball to the floor and was called for a technical foul.
Later, she would say, “I don’t know what happened. I was mad at myself and upset at my team.”
Her coach, Deanne Dial, understood. “Basketball is a game of passion and emotion,” Dial said. “When you leave everything you possibly have on that court, and get it ripped away from you, it hurts.”
Remarkably, the Ladycats were granted a second life when the Pantherettes could convert just 1 of their 4 foul shots. Because of the technical, NL retained possession and inbounded at midcourt.
Figueroa passed to a streaking Morrison, who stopped, pivoted 90 degrees and fired as time stood still.
The Ladycats, now 8-16 overall and 1-2 in district, try to get away from the heartbreaker as they travel to Pleasant Grove Tuesday to face the 3-0 Lady Hawks.
The Paris Wildcats captured the bronze trophy (above), while the Ladycats claimed silver (below) at the 2017 R.K. Hall & Kings Classic soccer tournament
The annual R. K. Hall & Kings Classic soccer tournament ended Saturday with both co-hosts coming away with lesser trophies than they had hoped to capture but still optimistic that each is on course for bigger prizes ahead.
The Paris Ladycats finished second to Sulphur Springs, which successfully defended their Kings Classic title with a 3-1 win over Paris in the girls championship finale at Wildcat Stadium. Earlier in the day the Ladycats claimed their second win in five days over the No 1-ranked team in Region 2.
On Tuesday, Paris nipped preseason No. 1 Kilgore, 1-0, in a pre-district match at Wildcat Stadium. Saturday morning the Ladycats edged Mabank, 2-1, to finish tournament group play. Mabank had replaced Kilgore as the top team in Region 2 in the current state soccer coaches rankings. The Ladycats have moved up a couple of notches to fourth in those regional rankings.
The Paris Wildcats, the tournament’s boys defending champion, failed to advance to this year’s championship match after tying Pittsburg, 1-1, to complete group play on Saturday. They finished by swamping Pleasant Grove, 4-1, in the third place match.
Senior striker Christian Mitchell continued his hot early season scoring streak. He scored the tying goal vs. Pitt just 1:30 until halftime when he rebounded his initial shot on the Pirate goal. He scored twice in the first half of the third-place match to power Paris to a 3-0 halftime lead.
Mitchell now has 10 goals for the season to double his career output to 20. He has scored in every Wildcat match in 2017 except for one: Thursday’s scoreless tie against the same PG side. High winds helped neutralize his speed against the Hawk defense that night to cost the Cats a chance to return to the tournament championship.
Instead, Kennedale, which also tied Pitt, 1-1, squeaked by PG, 1-0, to win the Cats’ group. Pitt topped Kennedale in the boys championship, 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout, after regulation ended in a 1-1 tie.
Seniors Stanley Watkins and Colin Harris scored the other Paris goals in their third-place win. The Wildcats, now 4-1-3, travel to Marshall on Tuesday before entering the Terrell tournament Thursday.
The Ladycats, now 4-2, play their next match Tuesday at Kaufman then play in the Melissa-Anna tournament Thursday.
The Paris girls started strong in their match against Mabank with junior midfielder Estephany Balderas finding the Lady Pirate net twice in the opening 10 minutes on feeds from junior topside defender Deagan Dingman. A Dingman corner kick also set up junior Zanesha Dangerfield for the lone Ladycat goal vs Sulphur Springs.
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.
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 February winner is Payne Couts. See monthly winners on our Students of the Month page.
Paris High juniors (from left) Jeremy Seals, Evelyn Brown, Ansley Downs, and Alyssa Tacuyan have been selected to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp. Read more.
Deon Minor Relays. Wildcat Stadium will be the site of the annual Deon Minor Relays Thursday, March 22, as the Wildcats and Ladycats track teams welcome other regional schools to this big pre-district warmup meet. Field events will start about 3 p.m. with running finals around 5:30.
District Soccer. The Paris Ladycats and Wildcats varsity soccer teams host Bonham for a District 11-4A doubleheader Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. The girls game starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 7:15.