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PJC forward Will Ransom (44) blocks out a defender on a teammate’s shot against East Central University in a scrimmage on Friday won by the Dragons 64-54. Anthony Adams is No. 10, and Delvin Dickerson is No. 21. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
RICHARDSON – Paris Junior College won a game and lost a game Thursday in the Dragons’ next-to-last basketball scrimmage of the pre-season.
Playing in the four-team “Thunderduck Jamboree” at Richland College, Paris defeated East Central University of Ada, Okla., 64-54 in the second of the day’s four scrimmages, and lost to the host Richland Thunderducks (coached by former PJC coach Bill Foy) 46-42 in the last game of the day.
Each of the four teams won one and lost one.
Paris beat East Central, which beat Trinity Valley, which beat Richland, which beat Paris.
All four are junior colleges. Paris and Trinity Valley are Division I schools, ECU is a Division II school, and Richland is a Division III school.
The Dragons are now 1-5-1 in their five pre-season scrimmages. But for PJC coach Chuck Taylor, winning is always secondary in the pre-season to getting all his players into games to see which ones he will go with once the season starts on Nov. 1.
Paris has one scrimmage game left – in Commerce at 5 p.m. Monday against Texas A&M-Commerce – before the season opener at the Hunt Center on the PJC campus on Saturday, Nov. 3, against Murray State.
That is PJC’s Homecoming, with the Lady Dragons playing at 4 p.m. and the Dragons at 6 p.m.
The next home games won’t be until Wednesday, Nov. 14, against Ranger and Friday, Nov. 16, against Northwood JV.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, you know, but when you play with energy, effort and knowledge, you give yourself a chance, and they did all those things,” Taylor said after Thursday’s win over East Central.
Taylor’s strategy changed with Thursday’s two scrimmages.
Only nine of the 14 players on the PJC bench Thursday played against East Central.
“Unfortunately, everybody can’t play. It’s money time now. We’ve got to get guys ready to go,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got to do a better job at the free throw line, and we’ve got to do a better job rebounding, but we did some good things,” he said.
Mike Harmon, a 5-9 sophomore transfer from Houston, and 5-8 Anthony Adams, the only returning starter from last year’s team, scored 15 points each to lead the Dragons against East Central.
Mo Mitchell, a 6-6 forward from Georgia who practiced with the team last year while sitting out a year to become eligible, added 10 points, and Eddie Leal, a 6-4 sophomore transfer from Collin County Community College, added 8 points.
Chris Jones, a 5-9 freshman point guard from Memphis, scored 7; Delvin Dickerson, a 6-6 forward from Houston, scored 5, and 6-11 returning player Marcus Holt and 6-8 freshman forward Will Ransom of Fort Worth scored 2 points each.
“Ant and Mike have got to score for us. Mo did a great job, Delvin did a great job, as did Will and Henry (6-11 sophomore Henry Buckley), and Eddie is capable of scoring some points for us,” Taylor said. “We’ve just got to defend. If we defend and get out in transition, we can get us some easy buckets.”
After being held by Paris to 54 points, East Central defeated Trinity Valley 80-71.
The scrimmage between Trinity Valley and Richland College was the first game on the day’s schedule. Foy said Trinity Valley “beat us by 10 or 12 points.”
Throughout the day, on any two-shot free throw situation, one point was automatically scored and the player then actually shot the second free throw. So no matter how poor the free shooting was, a team could do no worse than 50 percent.
The first three scrimmages Thursday were played with a shot clock and the game clock was kept the same way as in a real game, as opposed to other scrimmages this season, which used a 20-minute running clock for each half.
The scrimmages were scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, but that’s a schedule that can be kept only with a running clock. The third game didn’t begin until 7 p.m., and the Richland-Paris scrimmage didn’t begin until 8:45 p.m. To get things over with, a running clock was used for the second half.
The Dragons’ only leads against Richland were at 2-0 and 6-5. The Thunderducks led 17-16 with 8:35 to play in the first half, but outscored Paris 19-7 the rest of the period for a 36-23 halftime lead.
The running clock made it difficult for Paris to get back into the game, but Foy is a master at controlling the pace to protect a lead.
The Dragons have 17 players on the roster, but Taylor had only 14 on the bench at Richland – all but freshmen David Tucker, a 6-1 guard from Dallas; Drew Arredondo, a 6-3 guard from Dallas; and Antione Ross, a 6-4 forward from Mount Pleasant. Arredondo and Ross have been designated to “redshirt” – not play this season and retain two years of eligibility.
Against East Central, Taylor started Chris Jones and Eddie Leal at guards, Sheldon Yearwood and Mo Mitchell at forwards, and Henry Buckley at center. Only six other players saw action – guards Anthony Adams, Mike Harmon and Antonio Arnold, forwards Delvin Dickerson and Will Ransom, and center Marcus Holt.
In the second game, the three other players saw action – 7-0 center Lamar Walker, 6-1 guard Jemarea Samples (a high school teammate of Anthony Adams), and 5-11 guard Courtney Austin of Mansfield.
Samples, who was known as a “sniper” in high school because of his 3-point shooting, immediately hit a three-pointer when he came into the second game, but got only limited touches.
Austin, who played with Tucker and Yearwood on Dallas Kimball’s Class 5A state championship team in 2010-2011, hit two jump shots from the top of the circle in the limited action he saw.
Mitchell led Paris against Richland with 8 points, followed by Harmon with 7, and Adams, Jones and Austin with 5. Samples scored 3 points, and Dickerson, Walker, Ransom and Arnold had 2 points each.