Dragons falter late, lose 68-63 in Kansas tournament on Tuesday
On the court for PJC in the second half of the Dragons’ basketball game Tuesday night with Neosho County (Kan.) Community College are (from left, in green) Antonio Arnold, Sheldon Yearwood, Mo Mitchell, Mike Harmon and Anthony Adams. The game’s heroes for Neosho were Jamie Batish (No. 3, top right corner of the picture) and Jake Stoppel (No. 21, top left corner). (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
CHANUTE, Kan. — What PJC coach Chuck Taylor called “a very winnable game” got away, and the Dragons fell to 7-7 with a 68-63 loss Tuesday night to Neosho County Community College in the four-team Sonic Shootout tournament hosted by the Panthers.
Two players scored a lot of points in a short time to lead Neosho in a 15-6 run in a pivotal part of the contest.
The Dragons led 32-25 at the half and still nurtured a 50-46 lead with 7:50 left to play.
Neosho’s Jamie Batish, a 6-5 freshman from Australia, knocked down three straight shots — a mid-range 2-pointer followed by two 3-pointers while PJC’s Mike Harmon made a 3-pointer and Anthony Adams scored twice, resulting in a 54-54 tie with 4:22 remaining.
It was still tied at 56 with 3:12 to play, but 6-5 Neosho freshman Jake Stoppel followed with a 3-pointer and two free throws for a 61-56 lead with 1:45 to play.
Paris’ Delvin Dickerson then turned the ball over and fouled trying to get it back, and Jalen Jones, Neosho’s leading scorer with 19 points, made both free throws to widen the margin to seven points at 63-56.
Anthony Adams, who led Paris with 15 points, scored immediately, but with the clock their enemy, the Dragons had to foul, and Neosho was able to cash five free throws the rest of the way to close out the Dragons.
Mo Mitchell backed Anthony with 14 points, but with 6-4 forward iEddie Leal out of action with a sprained ankle, PJC needed more.
Dickerson and Harmon were held out the entire first half, coming into the game for the first time with 15:36 to play. Dickerson finished with 9 points and Harmon with 7 points.
“And guess what? Now we get to play No. 9 Barton County tomorrow,” Coach Taylor said. Barton County improved to 13-0 by beating Missouri State-West Plains 84-82 earlier Tuesday evening.
The Paris-Barton County game will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Neosho County (6-5) against West Plains (10-5) at 6 p.m.
Neosho County killed Paris on the boards, finishing with a 49-32 rebounding edge.
Both teams made the number of field goals — 24, including four 3-pointers — but the Panthers made 16-of-21 free throws to 11-of-18 by PJC.
The Dragons had just 10 assists to 16 by Neosho, and Taylor felt his team should have had more.
On the bright side, PJC committed only five turnovers, to 13 by Neosho. The Dragons had double-digit turnovers in most of their previous games.