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HUNT CENTER, PARIS — Behind eight quick points by Nouhoum Bocoum, Paris Junior College’s Dragons took an early 11-0 lead, stretched it to 19-3, and went on defeat No. 5-ranked Trinity Valley 67-58 Saturday.
Trinity Valley finished the first half on a 10-3 run to cut Paris’ lead to 31-25, and the Cardinals trailed only 56-50 after Josh Robinson‘s 3-pointer with 2:48 left in the game.
But Paris made 11-of-12 free throws over the final 1:45 to assure the victory, improving the Dragons to 20-7 overall and 13-4 in conference.
“First, I want to say our guys did a good job of stepping up and knocking down those free throws. Second, it’s really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really nice to be home!” PJC head coach Chuck Taylor said after the win before PJC’s largest home crowd of the season.
“That helped. Our fans, our cheerleaders, our crowd, our faculty and staff, the students were really awesome tonight. The game had a tournament feel to it.”
Saturday’s win completed an eight-day stretch in which unranked PJC played three nationally ranked teams — Kilgore (No. 5), San Jacinto (No. 28) and Trinity Valley (No. 5) — and beat them all.
With two league games remaining — against Bossier here on Monday and at Panola on Wednesday — PJC still has an outside chance at the No. 1 seed overall in the March 4-8 Region XIV tournament.
More likely, as the result of a 55-49 loss at Tyler on Wednesday, is a No. 3 or No. 4 seed.
“Our guys were really bummed by Wednesday’s game, and rightfully so, but our goal is the national tournament at Hutchinson, Kan.,” Taylor said.
“We want to do whatever we can to get the best seed possible going to the tournament. We want to do have an opportunity to do what Coach (Bill) Foy did (in 2005). We want to bring a national championship back to Paris.”
Bocoum led PJC with 18 points, and Jovan Austin added 12 points, including 5-of-6 free throws in the final 69 seconds.
“Boucoum stepped up and played really well,” Taylor said, feeling his players did a good job getting the ball inside to the 6-9 sophomore from Harlem.
Joe Haynes, a freshman from Detroit, Mich., scored eight points, all in the second half on drives where he shot off balance while falling.
“I thought Haynes had a really good floor game, and I thought Jovan Austin did a really good job of directing our offense,” Taylor said.
Octavius Ellis, the Cardinals’ 6-10 center, and Pat Ingram led Trinity Valley (24-4, 14-3) with 13 points each. Josh Robinson added 12 points and Aldonis Foote 10 points.
Paris was 23-of-33 from the free throw line, including 8-of-11 by Austin and 7-of-10 by Trevon Seymore.
Trinity Valley hit 14-of-26 free throws. Ellis made 5-of-6, but Robinson was 1-of-7 and Ingram was 4-of-7.
In other conference games Saturday, Navarro beat Kilgore 56-52, San Jacinto beat Blinn 75-74, Lamar State-Port Arthur beat Lee 93-92, Tyler beat Bossier 74-62, and Jacksonville beat Angelina 75-69.
With two games to play, San Jacinto (23-5, 14-3) and Lamar State (23-5, 13-4) have wrapped up first and second place in the South Zone, and the automatic first-round byes that go with it.
In the North Zone, Trinity Valley is 14-3, Paris 13-4, Kilgore 13-5, and Navarro 12-5. Tyler is 7-10, Bossier 4-12, and Panola 4-13.
In the South Zone, San Jacinto is 14-3, Lamar State is 13-4, Lee 10-7, Blinn 6-12, Angelina 5-13, Jacksonville 3-14, and Coastal Bend 2-15.
The top 12 teams in the 14-team league advance to the regional tournament at UT-Tyler’s Herrington-Patriot Center.
TVCC (24-4, 14-3) — Octavius Ellis 4 5-6 13, Malcolm Riley 2 0-0 4, Dedrick Basil 1 0-0 2, Kentrell Washington 1 0-0 2, Josh Robinson 4 1-7 12, Clarence Williams 0 1-2 1, Pat Ingram 4 4-7 13, Aldonis Foote 4 202 10, Kevin J ordan 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 14-26 58. Three-Pointers: 4 (Robinson 3, Ingram 1). Fouls: 24. Fouled Out: Ingram.
PARIS (20-7, 13-4) — Jovan Austin 2 8-12 12, Delvin Dickerson 1 3-4 5, Keith Shivers 1 0-0 2, Joe Haynes 3 2-4 8, Noucoum Bocoum 8 2-2 18, Trevon Seymore 0 7-10 7, Brandon Scott 3 1-1 8, Xavier Dupree 0 0-0 0, Qua Doster 1 0-0 3, Ronnie White 2 0-0 4. Totals: 21 23-33 67. Three-Pointers: 2 (Scott, Doster). Fouls: 22. Fouled Out: Dickerson.
HALFTIME: Paris 31, TVCC 25.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra