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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.
Josh Robinson drops in a floater in the paint vs. Crandall
The Paris Wildcats capped off a productive first week of boys basketball with four double-digit wins to reclaim the top hardware for the third straight year at the Van DQ Invitational, but the road ahead gets much bumpier.
It starts Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym when Paris, 5-0 and ranked 20th in Class 4A, hosts the Mount Pleasant Tigers, 5-1 and 20th-ranked in Class 5A. The Tigers feature a dominant inside game led by 6-5 senior James Moore and talented point guard Josh McGill.
“I never thought we’d be sitting at 5 and oh,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said after watching his team win four games at Van against traditionally strong East Texas basketball programs by margins of 15, 35, 16, and 34 points. Paris has had just two full practices after welcoming 60% of the varsity squad from the football team, which just finished a 3-deep playoff run.
The basketball Wildcats are still very much a work in progress, but they feature two of the best court talents in the region in 6-5 junior Josh Robinson and 6-4, two-sport college Division 1 senior prospect Jalon Pipkins. While Pipkins is still getting his basketball legs under him, Robinson has carried the scoring load through the first week, averaging 36 points a game. Both players were selected to the Van all-tournament team.
Steed understands that opponents will be focused on stopping his dynamic duo by using a variety of hybrid defenses. Developing a supporting cast capable of doing things on offense that attack those defenses while rebuilding his own defense that’s missing the graduated Embry twins patrolling the paint remain his top two priorities.
Paris Wildcats head basketball coach Billy Mack Steed had one practice to incorporate five additions from the football squad before facing the Kaufman Lions in the Wildcat Gym Tuesday night for the Cats’ season opener.
“We tried to teach them two plays,” he said.
You can bet those two plays focused on getting the ball into the hands of the two holdover starters from last season’s regional semifinalists: Junior 6-5 guard Josh Robinson, one of a handful of players who concentrate on playing basketball year-round, and 6-4 senior Jalon Pipkins, one of the five imports from the area champion football team which just completed its season four days ago.
“Until Jalon gets his (basketball) legs under him,” Steed continued, “we’re going to need Josh to score for us to be successful.”
Mission accomplished Tuesday, as the Cats broke away from a 31-31 halftime tie with the hot-shooting Lions (2-2) to take an 86-65 win. Robinson (pictured left) had 28 of his game-high 43 points in that second-half blitz. Pipkins, as expected, didn’t have his best shooting night and finished with 15, but he did manage a trio of dunks and athletic plays including a crowd-pleasing 270-degree spin dunk in a third-quarter spurt that saw Paris outscore the visitors, 30-13.
The Lions’ outside shooting (they made eleven 3’s in the game) kept it from becoming more of a blowout. The lack of practice time was particularly noticeable early in the game as Kaufman jumped out to a 14-6 advantage before Steed called his first timeout with 3:03 remaining in the opening period.
The Cats finished the first quarter on an 11-0 run that included 7 points from Robinson. The lead changed hands three times in the second quarter, but a 5-0 run by Paris ended the first half and resulted in the 31-all halftime tie.
Paris scored the first 8 points of the second half to take the lead for good. When Robinson and Pipkins weren’t scoring themselves, they were distributing the ball to teammates, like Pipkins’ feed to Perry Franklin on a fast-break outlet to give the Cats a 20-point headway, 61-41.
A Lion 3-pointer ended the third quarter and another long 3 started the fourth to eke Kaufman within 14, 61-47. However, Robinson found Sam Hawkes for a layup, Pipkins followed with another dunk, and Robinson completed a traditional 3-point play to restore the 20-point advantage, 71-51.
Spencer Davis and Will Sisson topped Kaufman scoring with 14 each, while Andrew Rocha had 11, and Trey Collier 10.
The Cats will have one more practice session Wednesday before leaving for the DQ Tournament in Van, where Paris is the two-time defending champion. They open at 3 p.m. Thursday against Athens, then face Princeton at 9:20 a.m. Friday before starting bracket play. The tournament concludes on Saturday.
The Cats return home next Tuesday, Dec. 6, to host a tough Mount Pleasant team.
In Tuesday’s preliminary game, the Wildcat freshmen beat Kaufman, 70-38. Jameon Mitchell led with 19 points, while Zantavious Braxton scored 14 and Trae Johnson 10.
Donovan Williams cuts behind Gunner Vest block (left) to streak 42 yards for Cats’ second TD
The Paris Wildcats needed big plays on offense and turnovers on defense to have a chance to knock off the Van Vandals Friday afternoon in a Class 4A Region 2 semifinal at Allen Eagle Stadium. They got 4 big plays and 1 turnover. It wasn’t nearly enough.
Led by impressive junior quarterback Garrett Moseley, the Vandals rolled up 599 yards of offense and scored on 8 of their first 10 possessions in a 55-27 win that halted the Cats’ 7-game win streak. Van (12-1) moves on to next week’s regional final against Kennedale, while Paris (9-4) starts the task of rebuilding for next season.
Throughout the 7-game streak the Cats relied on their defense to stop opponents in their tracks, but none of those 7 victims possessed a strong balanced offense with a dual threat QB the likes of the Van signal-caller.
Moseley rushed for 201 yards and 4 scores while passing for 228 yards and 2 TDs behind a dominant offensive line. His complementary weapons were senior two-way standout Cooper Bledsoe (8 rushes for 97 yards, 1 TD), 6-4 senior wide receiver Isaiah Allred (4 catches for 88 yards, 1 TD), and senior Tre Lovett (3 catches for 58 yards, 1 TD).
Even poor starting field position could not deter the Van scoring machine. Outstanding punting by junior Montana Payne backed the Vandals to the shadow of their own end zone at the Van 6, 13, and 6, but the Vandals drove the length of the field in 10 plays or less on each series.
Paris appeared primed for an offensive shootout after speedy junior RB Donovan Williams sprinted for breakaway TD runs of 53 and 42 yards on the Wildcats’ first two possessions. Williams rushed 12 times for 137 yards, but the Vandals closed ranks after an early 13-7 Paris lead to completely shut down the Cats’ running game.
The Vandals were especially effective in denying Wildcat QB Ja”Kerion Brown any running lanes. Brown was held to 31 yards on 9 rushes although he did manage to complete 11 of 20 passes for 125 yards and 2 TDs.
The first touchdown pass was set up by Van’s only turnover when a blindside hit by Perry Franklin caused a Moseley fumble that was recovered by Demetric Glover at the Vandal 33. Van was caught in single coverage of 6-3 receiver Jalon Pipkins, who out-leaped his shorter defender to haul in an 18-yard fade from Brown in the first half’s final 6 seconds (see picture left).
The score closed Van’s lead to 35-20 and gave Paris fans a glimmer of hope at halftime. The home side was further boosted when Van was stopped on downs on the Vandals’ opening possession of the second half. A 94-yard scoring march on the Van’s second series of the third quarter proved to be a back-breaker, pushing the Van advantage to 42-20.
The last Paris flicker of hope came on a 54-yard screen pass from Brown to junior Montavius McCarty that closed the gap to 42-27 with 3:16 left in the third quarter (see picture right). The Cats’ offense never seriously threatened the rest of the way while Van ground out another couple of TD drives to provide the final margin of separation.
Post-season awards were recently announced in volleyball.
Junior libero Katy Hall was the lone Paris Ladycat to earn a first team selection to the All-Red River Valley volleyball team as chosen by The Paris News. Senior middle blockers Dextiny Patrick and Lindi Hamner along with junior setter Deagan Dingman made the second team, while senior Anahdian Mitchell and junior Zanesha Dangerfield received honorable mention.
For the All-District 14-4A Team as selected by coaches, Grace Woodby was named co-Newcomer of the Year. First team spots went to Dingman, Hall, Hamner, and Patrick. Second team berths were taken by Dangerfeild and junior defensive specialist Emily Williams. Mitchell, senior Drea Jenkins, junior Sarah Bloodworth, and sophomore Peaches Jackson received honorable mention.
The Ladycats finished third in 14-4A with a 6-4 record. They were 20-19 overall.
Paris High is the only high school in Region 8 (northeast Texas) to earn a perfect 7 of a possible 7 distinctions on 2016 campus accountability ratings recently by the Texas Education Agency.
PHS was 1 of 77 high schools statewide to gather a perfect 7 of 7 distinctions, which places the school in the top 6% of high school campuses. Also, 38 of those 77 high schools are either magnet or early college high schools, which further distinguishes PHS as 1 of 39 traditional public high schools in Texas to achieve the feat.
PHS received an accountability rating of Met Standard. Campuses that receive an accountability rating of Met Standard are also eligible for distinction designations based on achievement in performance indicators relative to a group of 40 campuses of similar type, size and student demographics. Distinctions can be earned for academic achievement in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps, and Postsecondary Readiness.
Statewide, more than 400 campuses, including PHS, earned all distinction designations applicable to their individual school.
“Earning one or more campus distinctions is noteworthy and should be a source of pride in a community,” said Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “Earning all possible distinctions is a significant accomplishment and should signal to parents that there is extraordinary work taking place on that campus.”
The state changed its accountability rating system four years ago to one based on STAAR end of course testing (from the previous TAKS testing system). Over those four years, PHS has earned a total of 19 distinctions of a total possible 24 which ranks first among Region 8 high schools.
Texas High, Mount Pleasant, and Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill are tied for second with 16 apiece. Sulphur Springs has collected 14, and Avery has 11. Mount Pleasant and Pewitt each received 6 distinctions on this year’s rating system.
For more information on accountability ratings, visit the TEA website.
Paris bench erupts as Deshia Runnels (22) flies upcourt after making her second 3-pointer
Poor shooting, turnovers, and foul problems were three major reasons the Paris Ladycats finished with a 4-28 record on the basketball court last season. Field goal shooting was not a big issue Tuesday afternoon in a pre-district game at Sulphur Springs, but turnovers and foul trouble played a major role in a 53-43 loss.
The strength of this year’s Ladycats should focus on posts Dextiny Patrick, a 4-year starter, and sophomore Peaches Jackson, last season’s district newcomer of the year. But Jackson picked up her fourth personal foul with 4:44 left in the third quarter and Patrick soon joined her on the bench when she collected No. 4 with 1:42 remaining in the period.
Ironically, the smaller Paris lineup responded with tight defense and some sharp shooting to break from a 25-25 tie to take a 37-29 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Senior guard Drea Jenkins hit a 3-pointer to give the Ladycats a 28-27 lead heading into the final period then fed senior Taj Reeves on a fast-break finisher to keep the momentum going in the final frame.
Backup senior post Deshia Runnels canned her second 3-pointer of the afternoon, and junior Nautica Harris hit a pair of short-range jumpers to complete the 12-4 run.
The turnover bug started to bite at that point, and Paris head coach Deanne Dial sent both Patrick and Jackson back on the court to protect a 39-34 cushion with 3:43 remaining on the clock.
Jackson drew her fifth foul at the 2:38 mark with Paris still clinging to a 41-39 edge, but the hosts started pushing play in the paint and creating havoc with a mid-court trap.
Reeves dropped in a pair of free throws to raise the Ladycats’ lead to 43-39 with 2:01 to play, but that would end the Paris scoring for the game as SSHS finished on a 14-0 run. A series of 4 turnovers led to easy points for the hosts, who are now 4-1 for the season.
Runnels topped Paris in scoring with 10 points, while Patrick scored 9, Jenkins 8, Jackson 6, and 4 each for Harris, Reeves, and junior Serenity Sanders, who had several nice assists.
Sadavia Porter and Kaylee Jefferson each scored 14 for SSHS, which was plagued by poor shooting until finishing with a 26-point fourth quarter. The home team made 15 of 23 free throws. Paris was only 6 of 17 at the foul line.
The Ladycats are off for the remainder of the Thanksgiving break. They travel to Mount Vernon next Tuesday, Nov. 29, 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 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.