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TYLER — Jovan Austin’s lay-up off the glass with 3.3 seconds to play gave top-seeded Paris Junior College a 68-66 victory Friday night over fourth-seeded Lamar State-Port Arthur in the semifinals of the Region XIV basketball tournament.
Austin had made two free throws for a 75-69 lead with 1:05 to play, but incredibly, Lamar State got back into the game.
TYLER — Delvin Dickerson scored 18 points, all in the second half, to lift No. 1-seeded Paris Junior College to an 82-67 victory Thursday over No. 8-seeded Blinn College in a Region XIV quarterfinal game.
The Dragons (24-7) will play fourth-seeded Lamar State-Port Arthur (25-6) at 6 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Lamar State defeated No. 12 seed Angelina 93-82 on Thursday afternoon.
Paris had to rebound from a lethargic first half against Blinn (18-14), whom the Dragons had defeated 87-76 in Paris in December.
Jovan Austin led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Dickerson with 18, and Trevon Seymore with 16. For Blinn, Cornell Barnett scored 15, Jourdan Stickler 14, and Jalan McCloud 10.
Seymore kept the Dragons in the game the first half, when most of his teammates couldn’t seem to get a shot to fall. He made 4-of-9 field goals in the first 20 minutes, including a 3-pointer, plus 3-of-5 free throws for 12 of the Dragons’ 29 first-half points.
Austin also had a decent first half offensively, scoring seven points the first half and 13 the second half.
But the rest of the team struggled in the first half. Freshman guard Joe Haynes went 0-for-6 and uncharacteristically missed two wide-open lay-ups.
Taylor said: “I think a lot of that had to do with a new environment and the background being different. I’m pretty sure he saw those chairs or something. He threw one right into the rim, and I’ve never seen him do that.”
Brandon Scott, another freshman guard, went 0-for-3 the first half, and both Xavier Dupree and White went 0-for-2.
The second half was like daylight and dark, with the Dragons in total domination. Austin hit a quick 3-pointer to cut Blinn’s lead to 33-32, then made another basket for a 34-33 lead, and Paris never trailed again.But the rest of the team struggled in the first half. Freshman guard Joe Haynes went 0-for-6 and uncharacteristically missed two wide-open lay-ups.Taylor said: “I think a lot of that had to do with a new environment and the background being different. I’m pretty sure he saw those chairs or something. He threw one right into the rim, and I’ve never seen him do that.”
Brandon Scott, another freshman guard, went 0-for-3 the first half, and both Xavier Dupree and Ronnie White went 0-for-2.
The second half was like daylight and dark, with the Dragons in total domination. Austin hit a quick 3-pointer to cut Blinn’s lead to 33-32, then made another basket for a 34-33 lead, and Paris never trailed again.
“I thought we played a great first half,” said Blinn coach Scott Schumacher, a former Dragons head coach. “We were very focused and executed our offense.”
The numbers don’t lie: In the first half, Blinn shot 44 percent from the field to Paris’ 27 percent; the Bucs were 43 percent from 3-point land to Paris’ 11 percent; and Blinn shot 100 percent (6 of 6) on free throws to Paris’ 60 percent (12 of 20).
Paris changed the game early in the second half.
The Dragons, who trailed by four at halftime, went on an 11-2 run to take a 40-35 lead with 16:26 to play.
With the momentum swing, Paris switched to a full-court press that disrupted the offensive production Blinn put up in the first half.
“That hurt us,” Schumacher said. “They were able to take control of the game after that.”
Just six and a half minutes into the second half, the Dragons lead had outscored Blinn 25 to 6 to turn the 33-29 halftime deficit into a 54-39 lead.
Paris shot 53 percent from the field in the second half to Blinn’s 28 percent, and the Dragons drained 57 percent of their 3-pointers to Blinn’s 11 percent.
The most telling statistic of the game, Schumacher said, were Paris’ 15 offensive rebounds.
“When you get offensive rebounds, you don’t have to worry about running your offense, you just have to worry about putting the ball back up,” Schumacher said.
Taylor said he was pleased with his team defensively even in the first half.
“You know, I thought we did a great job defensively in the first half. We just didn’t score many baskets. Blinn shot a little better than we did, but not much. Our defense kept us in the game. We stepped up our defense even more in the second half, and that prevailed for us.”
After going 0-for-3 in the first half along with two rebounds, Dickerson was a man possessed over the last 20 minutes. He went 7-for-9, including a 3-pointer and including a slam dunk on Austin’s alley-oop pass that drew a standing ovation from his teammates
Dickerson made 3-of-4 free throws and pulled down eight rebounds..
White was a force on the backboards in the second half. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds,
“Defensively, Ronnie does so much for us. He really sets the tone defensively . We wouldn’t be where we are without him, that’s for sure,” Taylor said..
Nouhoum Bocoum, the Dragons’ other 6-9 center, had eight points and four rebounds.
“My message at halftime was, we was we’ve got to stay poised and focused on the defensive side of the ball. We’re going to defend, we’re going to cut down transition, and we’re going to make sure we protect our basket,”Taylor said.
Taylor said he told his sophomores the game was on their shoulders during the second half.
“I told them Joe Haynes is a terrific freshman, but he’s still just a freshman, and it’s up to you sophomores to step up your game,” Taylor said. “They responded terrifically. Our defense the second half was unbelievable. That’s what we’re all about.”
Taylor said he thought the day’s play on Tuesday because of icy weather worked to Paris’ advantage because Blinn was forced to play the Dragons without an extra day of rest.
“I think we were able to wear them down defensively because they did play yesterday,”he said.
”It’s been a fun year. You know, you think about it, we’ve been the top team two out of the last three years, and that’s what Paris basketball is about. i didn’t start this. This is something I inherited from Scott Schumacher, Bill Foy and Ross Hodge and Tom Schuberth, and last year wasn’t a lot of fun.”
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra
Here are the pairings for the Region XIV women:
(NOTE: No. 8 seed Bossier Parish will host a play-in game with Coastal Bend at home on Monday. The winner will get the tournament eighth seed.)
WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:
Monday, March 3, 2014 (Play-In Game for No. 8 Seed)
Bossier (8-10, 4-16) defeats Coastal Bend (3-16)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (Quarterfinals)
1 p.m. — No. 1 seed Trinity Valley (29-1, 18-0) vs. No. 8 seed Bossier (9-19, 3-15) (Trinity Valley won earlier meetings with Bossier 105-53 and 137-56.)
3 p.m. — No. 4 seed Paris (16-14, 10-8) vs. No. 5 seed Jacksonville (16-13, 10-8). (Paris won first meeting 63-61; Jacksonville won second meeting 67-62.)
6 p.m. — No. 2 seed Tyler (26-4, 15-3) vs. No. 7 seed Kilgore (14-13, 8-10). (Tyler won earlier meetings 65-60 and 76-57.)
8 p.m. — No. 3 seed Blinn (25-5, 15-3) vs. No. 6 seed Angelina (12-17, 8-10) (Blinn won earlier meetings 68-63 and 79-62.)
Friday, March 7, 2014 (Semifinals)
1 p.m. — Winners of Wednesday afternoon’s games
3 p.m. — Winners of Wednesday night’s games
Saturday, March 8, 2014 (Finals)
5:30 p.m. — Women’s Championship Game
The Lady Dragons led No. 11-ranked Blinn virtually the entire game before the Lady Roadrunners took the lead with 20 seconds to go and held on for a 59-57 victory.
“It was another bang-’em-up game — a mirror image of our game at their place a few weeks ago,” PJC women’s coach Michael Madrid said.
Back in mid-October, the league’s coaches were predicting who would end up atop the league, and the Lady Dragons were forecast to finish ninth among the 10 teams.
The prediction was that Paris would be one of the two teams not to make the post-season tournament.
But even with the loss, PJC’s record of 16-14 overall and 10-8 in Region XIV leave the Lady Dragons in a tie for fourth with Jacksonville.
“In fact, we had a coin flip today in the event we finished in a tie, and we won the flip,” Madrid said.
Since the No. 4 and 5 teams play at 3 p.m. Wednesday, it didn’t matter whether a team finished No. 4 or No. 5 except for the color of the jersey and which side of UT-Tyler Herrington Patriot Center each team’s fans will sit on.
Meanwhile, Blinn finished the regular season at 25-5 overall and 15-3 in league play, losing twice to No. 1 Trinity Valley and once to Tyler, which finished 26-4, 15-3. The Apache Ladies also lost two games to TVCC and one to Blinn.
But it was Paris that gave Blinn its two biggest scares otherwise. Blinn won 68-67 in Brenham on Feb. 5.
The Lady Dragons led 33-27 at the half behind Maeghan Scott‘s 3-pointers. She had four for the game, and three of them were in the first half. Paris stretched the lead to 11 points at six minutes of the second half before Blinn went on an 8-0 run to get within 42-39.
Blinn’s Fatima Adams, who led all scorers with 23 points, fell to the court hard early in the second half and lay motionless on the court as Paris went down court on a fast break.
When the play ended, the game was at a halt for about five minutes while Adams was tended to. She was helped off the court, but minutes later she came back into the game and led her team to victory.
Adams scored 11 of Blinn’s last 13 points, including 7-of-8 free throws. She made two free throws with 5:11 to play for a 50-49 lead.
Scott hit her only 3-pointer of the second half about a half minute later, and Shanice Vaughan scored on a fast break 17 seconds later for a 54-50 Lady Dragons lead.
From there, Adams made 5-of-6 free throws as Paris missed 3-of-4, and that was the difference.
Chy Cunningham made a jump shot from the free throw line to tie the game at 56-all at 1:16, and Scott made one of two free throws to make it 57-56 at 0:36.
Adams made two free throws at 0:20 for a 58-57 lead. Scott had a shot for the lead at 0:06, but it bounced off the rim and into Adams’ hands. She was fouled at 0:04, and made her second free throw, giving Blinn a two-point lead.
Paris had four seconds to work with, and got the ball down court, but Cunningham fumbled the ball momentarily and her desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
Scott led Paris with 15 points, followed by Cunningham with 12. Vaughan and Shannon DeFoe scored 7 points each.
Free throws have been a strength of the Lady Dragons all season, but not on Saturday. They made 8-of-15 (53.3 percent), while Blinn made 17-of-24 (70.8 percent), most of them by Adams. She hit 11-of-17 free throws.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra
Navarro’s 61-55 victory over Trinity Valley Saturday in Corsicana set off a wild celebration in the gym at Paris Junior College.
Trinity Valley’s loss dropped the Cardinals to 25-5 overall and 15-4 in Region XIV play — the same record as the PJC Dragons.
The league’s tie-breaking rules favored Paris, which had already clinched at least a No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Now, it had the No. 1 seed, and along with it the regular season championship of Region XIV.
“I’ve got a really good feeling about this team, and we’re looking forward to moving on to play in the tournament,” Dragons coach Chuck Taylor said.
“It’s phenomenal for these kids, the school and the community.”
On Tuesday, at the Herrington Patriots Center at UT-Tyler, the No. 5 through 12 seeds will play four first-round games, with the winners joining the four top seeds in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Paris’ first action will be at 1 p.m. Thursday against the winner of No. 8 Blinn and No. 9 Tyler.
The Region XIV tournament website is www.region14hoops.com.
Paris, which learned the good news before taking the court for a tournament tune-up game, improved its record to 23-6 with an 82-67 victory over East Texas Flite, which brought only six players.
Paris led the entire game, although the Dragons’ mind clearly wasn’t on the game.
East Texas Flight, which had only six players, trailed by double digits early as Delvin Dickerson hit two 3-pointers and another basket for eight of the Dragons’ first 10 points.
But for the last 10 minutes of the half and the first 10 minutes of the second half, the lead was uncomfortably close. Paris led 43-40 at the half — evan as the Dragons were knocking down 3 pointers.
East Texas Flight answered with 10 three-pointers of their own, including three each by Terrell Colbert and Kendara Hall. Colbert led the visitors with 18 points.
For the game, Paris hit 9 three’s, with Dickerson getting 4, Brandon Scott 3, Qua Doster 1 and Trevon Seymore 1.
There were some great, great moments for Paris — with sophomore guard Seymore feeding his teammates for several wide-open lay-ups.
But Paris also tried four slam dunks on shots that looked to be easy lay-ups. Two of those shots rocketed off the rim — the equivalent of a blown lay-up. The other two weren’t classic dunks, but they rolled over the rim and in.
Dickerson led Paris with 20 points, followed by Scott with 14 points and Ronnie White 12. Seymore had 9 points, Joe Haynes 8, Nouhoum Bocoum 6, Doster 5, Jovan Austin 3, Xavier Dupree 2, Andre Barnes 2 and Keith Shivers 1.
Neither team was very accurate at the free throw line. Paris made 5 of 12 (41.6 percent) and East Texas Flight was 9-of-20 (45.0 percent).
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra