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The Paris Wildcats moved forward a notch in the eyes of Texas basketball coaches this week, but they fell a step in the eyes of their own coach following a 66-50 win Tuesday night in Sulphur Springs.
The Cats, who went relatively unnoticed in state rankings during a 2014-15 undefeated regular season, rose from fourth to No. 3 in the latest TABC poll after picking up their second tournament title last weekend at New Boston.
Paris, now 11-0, drew some high praise from head coach Billy Mack Steed for their defensive effort in a 72-38 win over previously unbeaten Arkansas High in Saturday’s tournament championship game.
But the veteran coach is trying to instill consistency on the defensive end if the Cats hope to continue their current streak of 44 regular season wins that stretch over 3 seasons.
Their high ranking comes with a price: A bullseye target squarely on their backs. Steed believes that solid defense is the key to keeping the win streak intact.
Instead, Paris struggled Tuesday to get, then maintain, separation from the Hopkins County Wildcats (6-7). Paris was up, 20-7, after one quarter, but saw the lead trimmed to 29-21 by halftime.
The Lamar County Cats carried a 47-36 lead into the final period, but SSHS used its 3-point shooting to get within single digits before Paris finally pulled away.
“We gave them way too many open looks,” Steed said.
SSHS became just the third team to notch at least 50 points against Paris this season. Not coincidentally, the other two opponents: Mount Pleasant (58-52) and Haworth, OK (61-54) were the only times when schools have held the Cats to a single-digit margin of victory. Freshman sensation Keaston Willis knocked down six 3-pointers among his team-leading 21 points for SSHS, who also out-rebounded the taller Paris squad.
Paris was led by Jalon Pipkins with 22. Jalen Wallace hit six 3’s for his 18 points, and 6-6 post Jordan Embry finished with 16.
The schools split in sub-varsity action. The Paris freshmen won, 48-44, while the Paris JV lost, 44-36.
Paris returns to the Wildcat Gym for just the second time this season when the Cats host Hugo, OK, Friday.
Senior Quez Allen, who rewrote the school record book for passing, rushing, and total offense during his football career at Paris High, was named the District 7-4A-1 Offensive MVP, as selected by league coaches.
Dre McKinney was the only Paris player to receive first team status. The junior linebacker was the Wildcats’ leading tackler.
The Cats had several players named to the second team. The offense included sophomore running back Donovan Williams, junior receiver Jalon Pipkins, junior guard Mitchell Cole, and junior kicker Zach Lamb. Junior safety TD Williams was selected to the defense.
The Paris Ladycats varsity basketball team lost a pre-district game Tuesday at Princeton, 59-36. Freshman Kiaunsha Jackson topped the scoring for Paris with 8 points. The Ladycats, now 4-13, visit Bonham Friday before breaking for the Christmas holidays.
Defense to Offense: A tipped ball by Jared Embry is recovered by Jordan Embry as Coach Steed looks on (above). It leads to a breakaway dunk by Jared (below)
Add the name of another “J” to the “J Squad,” the 4th-ranked Paris Wildcats basketball team which features five starters whose first names all begin with that letter of the alphabet.
His name is Jekyll, the original Dr. J of Robert Louis Stevenson lore. When he makes an appearance there are nights that the 10-0 Cats seem to be on a never-ending power play with a 6-on-5 man advantage. Saturday’s finale of the New Boston Gunslingers Tournament was a case in point, as Paris pounced on the previously unbeaten Texarkana Arkansas High Razorbacks (4-1) to cruise to a 82-38 win in the trophy game.
“That may have been our best game of the year,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said afterwards. “I don’t think we can play a better first half.”
He was referring to a 41-15 halftime lead which a casual fan would say was highlighted by a 5-for-5 shooting performance from 3-point land by junior Jalon Pipkins, who finished the evening with a 6th 3 among his game-high 25 points.
A casual fan might say that, but not Steed, who preaches defense first and forever, and that brings up Dr. Jekyll’s split persona, Mr. Edward Hyde, who surfaced during Friday’s 61-54 semifinal squeaker over Haworth, OK. As jubilant as Steed was over Saturday’s performance and an equally impressive 85-43 win over an athletic Idabel, OK, in Thursday’s tournament opener, the veteran Paris coach was distraught over some defensive lapses which enabled Haworth to climb back into the Friday game after Paris took a 27-13 halftime lead.
“We played as well tonight as we played poorly on Friday,” he said. “We played some great help-side defense (Saturday) and didn’t allow many open looks,” he said. “People don’t realize we can play pretty good defense.”
While the Cats are noted for their deadly outside shooting and acrobatic dunks, it’s their defense that sets the pace. Only two Paris opponents have cracked the 50-point scoring barrier so far in the 2015-16 season.
Coincidentally, both defensive anomalies happened this past week, starting with Tuesday’s 58-52 nail-biter at Mount Pleasant, then resurfacing on Friday vs. Haworth.
When they can keep Mr. Hyde under wraps, the Cats are pretty impressive on the offensive end as well. All five “Js” scored in double figures in the championship game. In addition to Pipkins’ 25, Jared Embry had 13, while Jordan Embry, Jalen Wallace, and Josh Robinson each netted 10. Pipkins and the Embry twins were selected to the all-tournament team.
How lopsided was the championship game? Consider that the biggest applause from a large contingent of Hog fans in the tiny, packed gym came on a hard foul that prevented a alley-oop slam by Jared Embry. They didn’t have much else to cheer, as no Arkansas player reached double figures in scoring.
Paris survived a second-half scare from recent nemesis Haworth to win Friday’s semifinal, while Arkansas used a 14-0 start to breeze past Texarkana rival Pleasant Grove, 57-40, in the other semifinal.
Haworth knocked off Paris in the 2012 Gunslingers tournament, 48-37, and again in 2013, 62-59, before the Cats turned the tables on the Lions last year, 63-49.
Jared Embry topped the scoring with 18 points, and Pipkins notched 17. Robinson was the only other Cat in double figures at 12.
In the tournament opener on Thursday, Paris bounced back from Tuesday’s scare on a horrible shooting night at Mount Pleasant to destroy Idabel. The Warriors jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the Cats were in front, 20-12, at the first break and 41-19 by halftime. Paris put on a crowd-pleasing show with 12 dunks and nine 3-pointers.
Robinson had three of the 3’s to lead the scoring with 24 points. Jared Embry scored 18 including a monster breakaway dunk (play video below to see dunk), Jordan scored 10, and Pipkins had 13.
Paris tries to extend its current streak of 42 regular-season victories when the Cats visit Sulphur Springs on Tuesday before a rare home game on Friday vs. Hugo, OK. The last Paris regular season defeat was a 57-47 loss to North Lamar on Feb. 7, 2014, two seasons ago. The Cats finished with a perfect 31-0 mark last year en route to a regional semifinal appearance.
The state-ranked Paris Wildcats found themselves in an unfamiliar position in a uncomfortable environment Tuesday. So they turned to a trusted ally to pull out a 58-52 win over the Mount Pleasant Tigers just one day after being promoted to No. 4 in the state basketball coaches’ rankings.
“I tell the players that there will be nights when their shots won’t fall,” Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed said earlier this year, “but they can always count on defense being there.
“If you don’t play defense, you won’t play for me.”
The Cats (7-0), fresh off a dominating run to win the Van DQ Invitational, had not been seriously challenged this young season until Tuesday night. Their closest margin of victory had been 24 points.
However, the Class 5A Tigers (4-2), took advantage of a miserable shooting night by Paris to take a 29-25 halftime lead. MP scored the first 4 points of the second half to stretch the advantage to 8, 33-25, before Paris finished the third quarter on a 15-4 spurt to surge ahead, 40-37, heading into the final period.
True to Steed’s formula, it was defense that keyed the rally. The Cats’ perimeter pressure forced several steals and turnovers and facilitated the deadly Paris fast-break game. Meanwhile, Paris clamped down in the paint and limited the Tigers’ second-chance opportunities which prevailed in the first half.
A lucky backboard bounce-back 3 by 6-4 Holden Davis enabled the Tigers to tie the game, 40-40, as the fourth quarter started, but the Cats responded with a key 7-0 stretch to retake control.
The run started with a steal and breakaway basket by junior Jalon Pipkins, then senior point guard Jalen Wallace knocked down a 3 from the right corner. Another Pipkins fast-break layup off a feed from Wallace gave Paris a 47-40 lead with 5:45 remaining.
However, Steed had to deal with foul issues down the stretch. Wallace picked up his fourth personal on a charge and joined 6-6 senior post Jordan Embry on the bench. Embry collected his fourth personal (3 on charges) earlier in the period.
With the two starters out of the game, the Tigers trimmed the lead to 47-45. A foul shot by reserve Clint Franklin and a 15-foot, step-back jumper by Pipkins built the lead back to 50-45. When Wallace and Jordan Embry returned to the court with 3:14 left, 6-5 Jared Embry converted a baseline drive to push the lead back to 7, 52-45.
Full-court pressure by the deeper Tiger squad caused some anxious moments for the Cats, but a floater by sophomore Josh Robinson and another baseline drive and dunk by Jared off an alley-oop feed from bother Jordan sent the gap back to 7, 56-49 heading into the final minute.
Wallace fouled out with 53.3 left as MP kept the pressure dialed up, but a pair of free throws by Robinson with 10.6 to go provided the final margin of victory.
Pipkins led the Cats with 17 points, including 11 in the second half. Wallace, whose outside shooting kept Paris in the game in the first half, finished with 14. Jared Embry managed 11, and Robinson 9 (all after halftime).
The Tigers’ 6-5 junior post James Moore scored 16 to lead the Tigers.
“I don’t know what it is about this place, but we can’t shoot the ball here,” Steed said afterwards.
Recent history verifies his claim that Tiger Gym is a voodoo palace to the Cats. Prior to Tuesday, Paris had lost its last four visits to MP which were low-scoring games with some bizarre finishes:
The win extended Paris’ regular season victory streak to 41 over the past 3 seasons. The Cats are back in action Thursday at the annual New Boston Gunslingers Classic. They open with a 2 p.m. tipoff vs. Idabel, OK.
Paris won Tuesday’s JV match at MP, 53-37.
Emory Rains used a 22-8 second quarter outburst to spoil the return of Paris Ladycat head coach Deanne Dial, 62-45, Tuesday night. Dial coached at Rains before moving on to the Paris job this season.
Ladycat freshman Kiaunsha Jackson scored a game-high 16 points, while junior Dextiny Patrick also hit double figures with 11. Paris, now 4-12, is off until next Tuesday when the Ladycats travel to Princeton.
Trophy Haul: (from left) Jared Embry MVP, Jordan Embry Team Championship, Josh Robinson All-Tournament
The Paris Wildcats returned to Van High School to defend their DQ Invitational tournament title, and in the process they sent a clear message to potential regional playoff opponents:
“Catch us if you can.”
The 9th-ranked Cats destroyed the 12-team field at Van, finishing with a 5-0 mark with winning margins of 40, 55, 28, 24, and 56 points. By the way, the 56-pointer was in Saturday’s championship finale, a 95-39 blowout over Athens.
Paris began tournament play with an 81-41 “nail-biter” over those same Hornets during Thursday’s pool play. So what do you say if you’re the Athens coach having to face the Cats in a rematch just two days later?
Whatever it was, it wasn’t nearly enough. Paris broke away from a 2-2 tie to lead, 25-3, after the first period, and was on top, 35-3, with 5:47 left before halftime following a dunk by 6-6 senior Jordan Embry.
The Cats led, 35-5, when Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed pulled four of his starters (he has only four bench players) with 4:47 remaining in the second period. With the first unit on the bench, Athens was able to pull within 43-15 at halftime.
Still, the Wildcat onslaught continued in the second half as the lead continually swelled to the ultimate zenith of 56 points.
Jared Embry, the 6-5 senior twin, scored his tournament average of 22 points to capture the tournament MVP trophy. Sophomore Josh Robinson scored 19 and was named to the all-tournament team. Junior Jalon Pipkins scored 15, senior Clint Franklin 13, Jordan Embry 9, junior Sam Hawkes 7, senior Jalen Wallace 6, and seniors Tavon Lawrence and Ty Clemmons 2 each.
Paris, the favorite to win District 15-4A, finds itself in the same regional quarterfinal bracket with teams from districts 13, 14, 15, and 16. Along the way to the Van championship, the Cats clobbered District 13 favorite Crandall (74-46) and 14 favorite Brownsboro (66-42). District 16 favorite Gilmer was scheduled to appear at the Van tournament, but had to drop out because the school is still playing football.
Earlier in the day, in a semifinal match which essentially was for the tournament title, the Cats used a 29-4 run to finally put away the pesky Brownsboro Bears. It was the feature pairing of the tournament, matching the two Region 2 semifinal losers from last season.
Two teams from Districts 13-14-15-16 will again punch tickets to the regional tournament in Commerce. Based on their early season showing and barring a major collapse or bad fortune, Paris appears to be a solid early pick. Brownsboro (5-2) also has hopes of returning to Commerce, and the Bears held a brief 9-8 lead over Paris before a Pipkins 3-pointer put Paris in front for good.
Paris led, 17-9, after one quarter and held a 35-20 halftime edge. The Cats extended the gap to 37-20 to start the third quarter before Brownsboro disrupted the Paris momentum with a full-court press and trimmed to lead to 8, 39-31, on a Tamrick Pace 3-point play midway through the period.
Paris regrouped, however, as back-to-back 3’s from Pipkins and Wallace, followed by a Jared Embry fast-break bucket and foul shot put the Cats back in control, 48-31. Paris continued the blitz into the fourth quarter, and by the time Steed emptied his bench, the scoreboard read Paris, 64-35, with 3 minutes left in the game.
Jared Embry topped all scorers with 25, including 10 in the final quarter. Pipkins was the only other Wildcat in double figures with 15, while Jalen Wallace had 9, Robinson 8, and Jordan Embry 7. Paris knocked down eight 3-pointers in the game, but only had one dunk on a breakaway by Jared in the fourth quarter.
Pace led the Bears with 17 points.
Paris, now 6-0 for the season, is back on the road Tuesday with a challenging date at Class 5A Mount Pleasant, then the Cats head east next weekend to play in the New Boston Gunslingers Classic, where they also return as tournament champs.
Earlier games in the tournament:
Raven Jordan finds Dextiny Patrick cutting to the basket for a layup off an inbounds.
Despite a teasingly torrid start, the Paris Ladycats fell back into some familiar inconsistent ways that allowed the Mount Vernon Lady Tigers to overcome a 12-point deficit to post a 56-45 win Tuesday night in the Wildcat Gym.
The loss dropped Paris to 2-8 on the season as the Ladycats continue to search for the right chemistry under new head coach Deanne Dial. The Ladycats’ next action will be in the Royse City Tournament which gets underway on Thursday.
It looked like Paris had a breakthrough in the form of a 19-7 lead after an opening quarter which saw the Ladycats put it all together: Ball handling, rebounding, defense, and shooting. Paris knocked down four 3-pointers in the frame, including a pair by junior Desha Runnels.
Unfortunately, except for a couple of spurts, the Ladycats were held to an anemic 26-point output over the remaining 24 minutes. Meanwhile MV, behind sophomore forward Alissa Hill’s 23 points, asserted control in the paint and forced Paris into a string of turnovers and missed shots.
The Lady Tigers (4-1) went on a 14-1 run to take a 21-20 lead midway through the second period. A pair of Raven Jordan free throws reclaimed the lead for Paris, 22-21, and the Ladycats ended the half with a Serenity Sanders fast-break bucket followed by a midcourt steal and layup to send Paris into halftime leading, 26-23.
A cold start to the second half by Paris enabled MV to take the lead for good on a 3-pointer, 29-27, with 4:51 left in the third quarter. A floater by Jordan with 3:37 left in the period closed the Ladycats within 29-31, but both Paris posts, junior Dextiny Patrick and freshman Kiaunsha Jackson, picked up their fourth personal fouls.
The Lady Tigers took advantage of the situation and soon had a commanding 38-29 advantage as the fourth quarter began. The Ladycats responded, however, with a Zakayla Ashley layup and Sanders 3-pointer to pull within 34-38. A couple of Patrick layups, including one off an inbounds assist from Jordan, and a free throw by Drea Jenkins pared the deficit to 39-41.
But that was as close as Paris would come. The Lady Tigers finished the final four minutes on a 15-6 tear to ice the win.
Patrick topped the Paris ledger with 11 points, while Sanders and Jordan each scored 10. Runnels had 6.
The Paris JV lost another close heartbreaker in the preliminary game, 49-47, to MV. Cap Johnson scored 17 and Taylor Looney had 10.
Jared Embry slams down 2 of his game-high 30 points in Paris’ 109-32 season-opening win over Greenville
Tuesday, Nov. 22, marked the official debut of the 2015-16 Paris Wildcats basketball team, the state’s No. 9-ranked Class 4A squad which features an impressive starting lineup of fast, lean, athletic players whose first names all begin with the letter “J”. Each of the five starters scored in double figures as the Cats demolished the Class 5A Greenville Lions, 109-32, in the Wildcat Gym.
How impressive a debut was it? Consider that Lions head coach Marcus Smith, who tries to play an up-tempo and attacking style on the court, ordered his team into a 4-corner stall during the final two minutes of play, protecting a 77-point deficit. No Más. It’s what future opponents may be saying with regularity if Tuesday’s season-opener is indicative of the Cats’ explosive potential.
Tuesday’s game was no contest from the opening tip. Paris cruised to an 11-0 start, held a 33-8 lead after one quarter, was in control, 58-16, at halftime, and enjoyed an 89-32 advantage heading into the final period. Clint Franklin’s 3-pointer officially dented triple digits on the scoreboard, 101-32, with still 4:10 left on the clock.
It could have been worse. Paris head coach Billy Mack Steed pulled all but one of his starters during the final minute of the third quarter to insert his four reserves off the bench. The second unit more than held its own against the Lions (0-3 and previous victims of blowout losses to Prosper by 49 points and West Mesquite by 31).
So just who are these 5 “J’s” and what makes them so impressive? Start with the senior Embry twins: 6-6 Jordan, who scored 18 points Tuesday and knocked down 4 of the Cats rim-jarring 7 dunks on the night. His “little” brother, 6-5 Jared, led the way with 30 points, including 24 in the first half. Then there’s 6-3 junior wing Jalon Pipkins, who poured in 15 points, 6-3 sophomore guard Josh Robinson, who netted 17 and produced the first dunk of the evening. Finish with 5-10 senior point guard Jalen Wallace, who put on a 3-point shooting clinic to close with 14.
Each of the starting five has outstanding range beyond the 3-point shooting arc and can attack the paint with regularity. They’re agile around the basket, extremely quick, and are outstanding, unselfish passers.
If you’d like to see for yourself, prepare to show some patience or hop in your car and punch in some navigation coordinates because they don’t return home until Dec. 18 when they host Hugo. Their next outing will be the Van DQ Invitational, Dec. 3-5, where they’re the defending tournamernt champions and will start with pool play pairings vs. Malakoff and Athens.
Paris and Greenville split sub-varsity games. The Lion freshmen won, 48-36. Jaylen Henderson and Cameron Jones led Paris with 8 points each. The Wildcat JV, coming off a championship run at the North Lamar Tournament, won, 62-54. Kelo Scott scored 16, Jordan Mitchell 11, and Xavious Young and Daz Mason 10 each.
Jalon Pipkins jams the 7th and final dunk of the evening
The early-season struggles continued for the Paris Ladycats basketball team Tuesday night in a 63-33 loss to Sulphur Springs in the Wildcat Gym.
Paris, now 2-7 for the year, saw SSHS sprint out to a 9-0 start before rallying behind full-court pressure to close to within 9-11. It was as competitive as the game would become, however, as the vistors took a 30-23 lead into the locker room before outscoring Paris, 33-10, in the second half.
One night after surpassing the 50-point barrier for the first time this season in notching just their second win, a 54-43 decision at Chisum, the Ladycats were plagued by turnovers on the offensive end and dominated in the paint on the defensive end. After a short break for Thanksgiving, Paris returns to the Wildcat Gym next Tuesday, Dec. 1, to host Mount Vernon.
Sophomore point guard Serenity Sanders topped Paris scoring with 11 points, while senior guard Raven Jordan added 7. Sanders scored 14 in the win over Chisum on Monday. Senior Tarsha’la Fisher added 9 and had a couple of key steals late in the game after Chisum had trimmed the lead to 8.
Paris went 1-5 at the Saltillo Tournament over the weekend, including a 58-45 loss to Chisum when the Ladycats surrended a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter.
In sub-varsity action Tuesday, SSHS swept both preliminary games. The SSHS 9th grade won, 23-14, despite 9 points from Destinae Brown. The SSHS JV squad pulled out a late, 33-32 win. Taylor Looney and Alexis Runnells each scored 8 for Paris.
The newly-formed Paris High chapter qualified 9 students in 6 events to advance to the state finals of the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) during the Region 8 contest held recently in Mount Pleasant.
The PHS chapter produced three regional event winners. Itzuri Ramirez, Jessica Ibarra, and Amber Powell placed first in Project Visualize for their public service project which collected boxtops for Crockett Intermediate School. Other event winners were Ibarra in Children’s Literature Pre-K and Carol Sanchez in Impromptu Speaking.
The State contest will be held in January. The chapter sponsor is Tori DePriest.
Paris results (State qualifiers in italics):
Senior outside hitter Justice Flowers and sophomore libero Katy Hall were named to the All-Red River Valley volleyball first team, as selected by The Paris News. The Ladycats also had a pair of second team selections: Senior Bebe Johnson and junior middle blocker Lindi Hamner. Receiving honorable mention was sophomore setter Deagan Dingman.
The Deanne Dial coaching era at Paris High tipped off Tuesday night with a 56-43 season-opening loss to the Mount Pleasant Lady Tigers in the Wildcat Gym.
Dial, who moved over from Rains High School to take over the Ladycats basketball program from departing head coach Ted Mackey, enters the 2015-16 season already missing the two main scoring cogs from last year’s team: Graduated seniors Jazz Pipkins and Tevaria Council. In addition to leading last year’s team in scoring, the duo formed the backbone of the Ladycats’ defense, rebounding, and ball movement.
In other words, Paris fans can expect a transition period this year.
Compounding the rebuilding effort was the fact that last year’s No. 3 scorer, sophomore Nautica Harris, had a courtside seat beside Deal on the bench Tuesday as she recovers from a leg injury. To make matters even worse, junior post Dextiny Patrick soon joined them on the bench after quickly picking up a couple of personal fouls.
The Lady Tigers took advantage of the situation by jumping out to a 15-9 start after one quarter. The Ladycats found themselves down, 13-22, midway through the second quarter before switching to a full-court press which trimmed the MP lead to 26-24 at halftime.
Cold shooting and turnovers by Paris along with domination on the boards inside enabled MP to stretch the lead to 12 points, 38-26, before a 3-point play by Patrick and an Adreiona Jenkins putback pulled Paris within 7, 38-31, midway through the third quarter.
It was as close as the Ladycats would get. MP led, 48-35, heading into the final period, and the Lady Tigers were able to go into a 4-corner stall to air out the clock the rest of the way. Both Paris junior point guards, Jenkins and Serenity Sanders, fouled out trying to get the Lady Tigers out of their 4-corner delay, which left the Ladycat offense even more rudderless.
Zakayla Ashley, a junior post player whose 8 points kept the Ladycats close in the first half, finished with 9 to tie senior guard Raven Jordan for team scoring honors. Jenkins finished with 8.
Lauren Williams led the Lady Tigers with 15 points.
Both MP sub-varsity teams also won. The Lady Tiger freshmen beat Paris, 38-13, while the JV was a 54-50 winner. Cap Johnson scored 13 for the Ladycat JV, while Taylor Looney added 12.
The Paris varsity enters the Saltillo Tournament starting Thursday, while the JV and freshmen play in the Prairiland Tournament on Saturday.
Quez Allen follows Breshaun Steward's block into the end zone for what proves to be the final rushing TD of his Paris High career
The Kaufman Lions ended the season for the Paris Wildcats along with the Quez Allen Era Friday night with a 37-20 bi-district win at Greenville’s T. A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium.
The Cats should have known it wasn’t going to be their night when a pair of interceptions were not enough to stop the District 8-4A-1 champions on a second-quarter possession that staked Kaufman (10-1) to a commanding 21-0 lead.
Apparently, they didn’t get the message, however, and rallied to within 3 points, 21-24, before Kaufman’s superior size wore down a game Wildcat defense while a stout Lion defense clamped down on Allen and his offensive teammates in the fourth quarter.
Allen, who rewrote the Paris High record book during his 4-year career, added 3 more touchdowns (1 rushing, 2 passing) to his career total of 106, and he pushed his career total offense to 10,340 yards. Still, the Kaufman defense held the explosive Cat offense to a season-low 252 total yards.
Allen’s two primary weapons, junior receivers JaKerion Brown and Jalon Pipkins, were held in check. They caught one pass each for a total of 32 yards and no TDs.
The Cats knew that stopping the Kaufman rushing attack would be a monumental task, and they packed the box to try to stop a bevy of Lion runners. Kaufman ended with 297 rushing yards, including 152 by senior Dru Prox whose touchdowns on the Lions’ first two offensive series gave Kaufman a 14-0 lead.
Kaufman then staged a successful onside kick which began a bizarre 13-play, 34-yard march. During that key series, Paris had not one, but two interceptions negated (one by penalty, another by a fumble). The Lions converted three fourth downs on the drive, the last one resulting in a 21-yard throwback TD pass to a seldom-used tight end.
The game should have been over at that point, but it wasn’t. Paris (6-5 and the District 7 No. 4 seed) countered with a short Allen TD run and an Allen-to-Treavon Sims TD pass to close within 21-14 before Kaufman extended the lead to 24-14 at halftime.
Another Allen scoring throw, this time to sophomore tight end Demetric Glover, made it a 24-21 game just 4 minutes into the second half.
That was a close as the Cats would get, however, as the Lion defense held Paris to back-to-back 3&outs while the Lion offense delivered a pair of knockout scoring drives behind the running of Desmond Williams and Devyn Morris, some timely passes to their tight ends, and a bit of trickery on a flanker reverse throwback pass to quarterback Austin Gomez.
The Paris defense made the Lions earn their yardage. Junior linebacker Dre McKinney was credited with 27 total tackles (7 solo), while sophomore linebacker Quin Perry had 10, and senior defensive end Ty Gray 12. Sophomore Jordan Furtch totaled 14, and senior Jamar Sanders 10 plus a key steal that set up Paris’ final score.
Diarva Brown intercepts a ball intended for Dre Prox, but the turnover is voided by a pass interference call
Senior Justice Flowers earned Most Valuable Hitter designation and two other Paris Ladycats were named to the first unit of the All-District 15-4A volleyball team as selected by league coaches.
Sophomore libero Katy Hall and senior Bebe Johnson were first-team selections. Making the second team were junior middle blocker Lindi Hamner and sophomore setter Deagan Dingman. Receiving honorable mention were seniors Tezyana Wrice and Mary Cobb along with juniors Dextiny Patrick and Tieren Gates.
The Ladycats finished fourth in the district with a 4-6 record.
Paris High seniors Alex Montellano and Kendra Thomas placed fourth and sixth, respectively, at the Region 2 UIL Student Congress contest on Nov. 12 in Pittsburg. Montellano is an alternate to the state competition. Their sponsor is Tracy Roden.
Quez Allen follows JaKerion Brown's blocking for another long gain vs. the Panthers
As Quez Allen nears the end of a remarkable four-year career at Paris High, the Wildcat senior quarterback surpassed three more significant milestones Friday night in the Cats’ 48-10 win over crosstown rival North Lamar.
Playing probably his final game at Wildcat Stadium, Allen continued his relentless assault on the Paris High record book by becoming the school’s career passing yardage leader. He entered the game with the PHS career rushing crown in tow.
Along the way, he cleared a couple more milestones that most high school athletes can only reach in their wildest dreams: The 10,000-yard mark in total offense (combined rushing and passing) and 100 combined touchdowns.
The play that pushed him over the top was the first Paris offensive snap of the second half. Allen connected with fleet-footed junior JaKerion Brown in the left flat. Brown got a seal block from senior receiver Treavon Sims, and the Paris duo motored up the home sidelines 81 yards into the record books.
The yardage officially pushed Allen past Corban Taylor in career passing and over the 10,000-yard plateau for total offense. He finished the game with 17 carries for 183 yards and 3 rushing TDs plus 2 more scores among 8 of 13 completions for 176 yards passing.
Allen now sits at 10,132 total yards (almost 6 miles) and 103 total TDs, and he’s not done, yet.
Friday’s victory not only sealed possession of the Crosstown Showdown Trophy for the fifth straight year, but it punched a ticket to the Class 4A-1 playoffs as the District 7 No. 4 seed. The Cats (6-4, 2-3) face District 8 champion Kaufman (9-1, 5-0) next Friday, Nov. 13, at Greenville’s T. A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium in a 7:30 bi-district kickoff.
Allen had plenty of help in the season-ending win over the Panthers (5-5, 1-4). The Paris offense rolled up a season-high 410 rushing yards as the Cats controlled both lines of scrimmage.
Senior Dren Rollerson had 12 carries for 70 yards and a score, Brown had 137 yards of tandem yardage (receiving, rushing) plus 2 TDs, and sophomore Donovan Williams carried 12 times for 111 yards.
Junior Jalon Pipkins caught his school-record breaking 12th TD reception (breaking the previous mark of 11 set last season by KD Scott), and junior kicker Zach Lamb, despite a rare miss earlier in the night, broke the school mark for PATs in a season (he’s now 55 of 57).
The defense also did its part holding down an explosive NL attack. The Panthers were missing injured quarterback Versache Buchanan, who broke his arm in last week’s loss to district champion Liberty-Eylau. While Buchanan’s speed might have stretched the Cat defense, it’s doubtful his absence was a difference maker in the ultimate outcome.
Still, without Buchanan on the field, the Panthers struggled with 12 series of 3 & out and were held to 101 yards rushing and 184 yards of total offense.
Paris already held a 34-0 lead before the Panthers finally hit the scoreboard on a Nick West field goal and a 78-yard strike from sophomore Matt Gibbons to Julique Franklin.
Paris junior linebacker Dre McKinney notched 21 total tackles and 1 of 3 sacks recorded by the Wildcats. Defensive end Ty Gray had 13 total tackles and a sack, and sophomore linebacker Tre Perry had the other sack along with 10 stops.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
JaKerion Brown races goalward on an 81-yard pass play that sent Quez Allen over the top in PHS career passing yardage and past the 10,000-yard career yardage milestone
Justice Flowers (11) and Lindi Hamner leap to block a kill shot by SFA recruit Ann Hollas
The 8th-ranked Spring Hill Lady Panthers ended the season for the Paris Ladycats Monday night with a dominant, 3-game sweep in their Class 4A bi-district playoff at Mount Pleasant High School, 25-14, 25-11, 25-16.
Paris (13-24), the No. 4 seed from District 15, found itself in deep holes in the first two sets (down 3-10 in Game 1 and 1-9 in Game 2) before showing some life midway through Game 3. The Ladycats took a 12-8 in the final game behind three straight points by senior Bebe Johnson.
Following a Spring Hill timeout, the Lady Panthers (36-4) reeled off 9 straight points to regain the lead, 17-12, and never looked back. Spring Hill, the District 16 champion, moves on to the area round against the winner of Wills Point-Kaufman.
Spring Hill featured a strong service game which kept the Ladycats on the defensive and unable to mount any consistent counter-attack. The Lady Panthers notched 10 aces in the match and had numerous other deep serves that the Paris backline couldn't control.
Seniors Justice Flowers and Bebe Johnson finished their careers with 9 and 7 kills, respectively. Other Ladycat seniors are Tezyana Wrice, Sara Lancaster, Gabby Finch, and Mary Cobb.
Senior Chandler Bawcum finished in a tie for 5th to pace the Paris High boys golf team at the Mount Pleasant Fall Golf Tournament Monday at Mount Pleasant Country Club.
Bawcum shot a round of 82, which was 6 strokes back of individual medalist Colin Juban of Hallsville, who shot a 76. Other Paris scores were junior Jake Ensey 87, sophomore Parker Chapman 99, freshman Justin Meredith 110, and freshman Nick Gentry 120.
Hallsville won the event with a team total of 317. North Lamar finished a distant second at 354, while Paris tied for fourth with a combined 378.
JaKerion Brown's 46-yard run sets up another Wildcat touchdown
The Quinlan Ford Panthers whittled 10 minutes off the clock to drive 80 yards in 18 plays to take a brief 6-0 lead over the Paris Wildcats Thursday night at Hobart Lytle Memorial Stadium. While the Panthers controlled the clock, the quick-strike Paris offense controlled the scoreboard in a 35-6 win that ended the Cats’ 4-game losing streak.
See video highlights of this game
Paris now heads into the regular season finale against North Lamar with the same scenario they shared last season: The winner of next Friday’s Crosstown Showdown at Wildcat Stadium will punch a playoff ticket as the District 7-4A-1 No. 4 seed. The loser will have to buy a ticket to see the playoffs.
Both teams have hit a skid after promising 4-0 starts to the season and will bring identical 5-4 overall records and 1-3 district marks into the annual Lamar County rivalry. One team will leave with the district’s consolation prize and a bi-district playoff date against District 8 champion Kaufman.
Meanwhile, Liberty-Eylau (4-0) is perched to defend its district football title after beating North Lamar, 47-29, on Thursday. The Leopards host Princeton (3-1) next Friday. Princeton fell into a second-place tie with Pittsburg (3-1) after a 49-39 loss to the Pirates. but the Panthers could create a 3-way tiebreaker scenario for the top spot if they can upset the state-ranked Leopards.
All District 7 games were moved up 24 hours to avoid potential storms that were scheduled to move through the region this weekend. Fortunately, the Cats were able to weather the grinding, old-style, Wing-T offense that Ford has built.
Although the Panthers owned a hefty advantage in offensive plays (67 to 39), the Paris defense was able to hold Ford to 170 rushing yards on 56 carries (a 3.0 yards average). After the opening drive, the Panthers managed to find the red zone (inside the Paris 20) just one other time all night.
True to form, Ford attempted just 11 passes, competing 4 for 47 yards. When Paris scored on all three of its first-half possessions to take a 21-6 lead into halftime, the Panthers’ Senior Night party was virtually over.
The Cats were efficient with their limited possessions and needed to punt just once. Two other Paris series ended on downs at midfield.
Senior quarterback Quez Allen completed 8 of 14 passes for 132 yards and 3 TDs. He rushed for just 23 yards on 6 carries, well below his previous season low mark of 83 rushing yards vs. Palestine.
Senior Treavon Sims caught 2 of Allen’s TD passes among his 3 receptions for 62 yards. Junior Jalon Pipkins had the other TD reception, his 11th of the season.
Sophomore Donovan Williams had 85 of Paris’ 172 yards gained on the ground. He scored once, as did senior Dren Rollerson.
Junior JaKerion Brown had two of the night’s biggest highlight plays: A 46-yard run that set up one score and an 80-yard screen pass and run that was negated by offsetting personal foul penalties.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
Justice Flowers wasn't quite ready to see her Senior Night come to a quick end Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym and sparked the Paris Ladycats to a Game 3 win over the Liberty-Eylau Lady Leopards Tuesday night in the regular season finale.
However, L-E proved too athletic and quick for Paris and took a 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17 win to clinch the No. 3 seed from District 15-4A. Paris advances to next week's playoffs as the No. 4 team and has a date with either 8th-ranked Spring Hill or 25th-ranked Gilmer. Those two schools meet Friday to decide the top two seeds from District 16, and Paris will face the winner of that match.
The Lady Leopards, 6-4 in district play, eked out close wins in the first two games which were tied on a combined 20 occasions. Paris couldn't overcome an 0-5 start in Game 1 and couldn't close out a Game 2 victory despite holding a 23-21 advantage. Three unforced Paris errors and a Lady Leopard kill by Chelsea Fagan enabled the visitors to win the game and take a 2-0 match lead.
Flowers, the Ladycats' leading attacker for the season, came alive to break a 5-5 tie with a pair of blocks and two kills to give Paris a 9-5 advantage. L-E never got closer than four points the rest of the game.
Unfortunately, the energy didn't carry over into Game 4, as the Lady Leopards took the lead for good at 4-3. The loss dropped Paris to 4-6 in district play and 13-23 overall.
Before the match, Ladycats Flowers, Bebe Johnson, Tezyana Wrice, Gabby Finch, Mary Cobb, Sara Lancaster, and manager E Harris were honored in their final home appearances.
The Ladycats' bi-district match will be played either Monday or Tuesday, Nov. 2-3, at a site to be determined.
Both Paris sub-varsity teams closed out their seasons by sweeping their L-E counterparts.
Jalon Pipkins pulls in 52-yard touchdown pass from Quez Allen
It wasn’t the night that the 16 Wildcat senior football players had envisioned as they faced the expanse of empty seats during introductions prior to kickoff on Senior Night at Wildcat Stadium.
It wasn’t the outcome they hoped for, either, as the Pittsburg Pirates dealt Paris its fourth straight loss, 48-30, Friday under a steady light rain and before a sparse turnout due to an imminent threat of severe weather.
Mother Nature allowed completion of the District 7-4A-1 contest which leaves the Cats with the stark reality that their next loss could end a season that began with dreams of a state title. Paris, now 4-4 overall, remains winless in district play at 0-3.
The Cats travel to Quinlan Ford (1-7, 0-3) on Thursday, 7 p.m., to try to regain their winning touch. That game was moved up 24 hours to avoid the forecast for another stormy weekend.
They return to Wildcat Stadium on Friday, Nov. 6, for another true Crosstown Showdown against North Lamar. Barring shocking upsets, the implications for the Paris-NL game should be a repeat from 2014: Loser goes home, winner goes on (to the playoffs).
While the Paris defense showed some improvement from previous weeks (when opponents averaged 280 yards rushing per game), it was the Pitt defense which never let an explosive Wildcat offense get untracked.
Paris closed to within 14-10 on a Zach Lamb field goal just three minutes into the second half when the Brian Baca-led Pirate attack took control of the game.
Pitt, now 7-1 for the season and 2-1 in district, scored 20 unanswered points to take a 34-10 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The schools then combined for a bizarre 34 total points over the course of the next two minutes to provide the false impression that this game was an offensive slugfest. It wasn’t.
Paris quarterback Quez Allen had a pair of TD runs that bookend the scoring among his 22 carries for 129 yards rushing, but he didn’t find his rhythm until late after the outcome was decided. He completed just 12 of 31 attempts for 186 yards and 2 TDs.
Both Paris scoring receptions were by junior wideout Jalon Pipkins for 90 of those yards. Junior JaKerrion Brown caught 5 passes for 46 yards.
Pitt held Paris to 354 total yards and a 5.1 average per play. Only Argyle has managed a better defensive showing this season against the Cats (287 yards, 4.1 average).
The Paris defense forced three Pitt punts in the first half, thanks partly to several dropped balls by open Pirate receivers. Once they started hanging onto Baca’s passes, the balanced Pitt attack finished for 396 combined yards (189 rushing, 207 passing)
Senior Diarva Brown recorded his fourth interception of the year for the Cats, who can be reasonably optimistic that recent history is on their side. Following an upset loss to Pitt last season, the Cats were on the verge of playoff elimination as they headed into their final two games and needed to beat Quinlan Ford and North Lamar to qualify.
They got their second wind and used a strong finishing kick to advance three rounds into the state playoffs.
How Wildcat Opponents Fared:
Tieren Gates dives for a one-handed dig save which drops over the net for a point in Ladycats' win over Pittsburg Friday
Despite a tortuous second set which witnessed their opponents fighting off 10 game points, the Paris Ladycats locked up a playoff spot Friday with a 25-7, 30-28, 25-7 win over the Pittsburg Lady Pirates in the Wildcat Gym.
Also on Friday North Lamar (9-0) officially wrapped up its fifth straight district title with a win over runnerup Pleasant Grove (7-2). Liberty-Eylau (5-4) is in third place, but Paris (4-5) can tie the Lady Leopards for the No. 3 seed with a win Tuesday in the Wildcat Gym in the regular season finale. An L-E win means Paris, 13-22 overall, will finish fourth in District 15-4A and meet the District 16 champion (either Spring Hill or Gilmer) in the bi-district round the week of Nov. 2.
Paris had a relatively easy time dispatching Pittsburg (1-8) despite using a new rotation which caused a 10-minute break in action early in Game 1 while officials tried to correct a substitution error. Once play resumed, the Ladycats quickly closed out the set which featured a long run at the service line by jump-serving sophomore libero Katy Hall.
Game 2 was an entirely different story. Paris was primed to take a 2-0 match lead with a 24-16 advantage when Pitt went on an 8-0 run to tie the set at 24. The Ladycats had 2 more game points, and the Lady Pirates also had a couple in topsy-turvy action before 3 straight Pitt errors ended the drama.
Long service runs by Hall, senior Mary Cobb, and junior Tieren Gates closed out the match in Game 3. Gates produced the play of the day when she dove for a one-handed dig save that dropped over the net for an unexpected point to give Paris its first, and only needed, match point at 24-7 in Game 3.
The Paris High cross country team closed out the 2015 season by finishing 16th in both boys and girls divisions at the Region 2-4A Championships Monday at Grand Prairie Lynn Creek Park.
The top individual finishers were junior Matt Cochran (35th among boys) and sophomore Lilly Lewis (60th in girls).
The Wildcat golf team won a tournament Tuesday hosted by Commerce at Sands Hills Country Club, led by senior Chandler Bawcum, the individual medalist with a round of 77.
Paris finished 1-2-3 among the boys. Junior Jake Ensey was runnerup with an 85, and sophomore Parker Chapman fired a 94. Other Paris scores were by freshmen Nick Gentry 96, Justin Meredith 100, and Drew Bush 114.
Senior Macey Chapman finished tied for fourth with a 120 as the lone PHS girls' entry.
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.
Choir Pre-UIL Concert. The Paris High Chorale and PJHS Combined Girls Choir will stage a Pre-UIL Concert Monday at the Weger Auditorium on the PJHS campus. It begins at 6:30 p.m.