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Paris forward Sheldon Yearwood (25) positions himself for a rebound as Mike Harmon (5) puts up a shot in the second half of Tuesday night’s conference game at Jacksonville. Also shown for Paris are Will Ransom (44) and Anthony Adams (1). (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
JACKSONVILLE, Texas — Chuck Taylor, head coach of the Paris Junior College Dragons, left sophomore guards Anthony Adams, Mike Harmon and Antonio Arnold on the bench for the first half of Tuesday’s 86-73 loss to Jacksonville.
The run-and-gun Jaguars stymied the replacements with an aggressive half-court press, forcing Paris into a flurry of turnovers that Jacksonville turned into points.
Jacksonville built up a 20-point lead that Paris was able to cut to 47-33 by halftime. But the Dragons were unable to mount a threat in the second half.
Taylor played only seven players the first 20 minutes, including forward Sheldon Yearwood and guards David Tucker and Courtney Austin, none of whom played in Saturday’s game against Angelina.
The four other players seeing first-half action were forwards Delvin Dickerson, Mo Mitchell and Will Ransom and guard Eddie Leal.
“You know, we’ve got some things that we’ve got to fix. I had to send a message to some guys,” Taylor said in a post-game interview with eParisExtra.com.
“You don’t win just because you’re talented. You’ve got to work hard, and you’ve got to deserve to win. You know, it’s about the team. It’s always been about the team, and unfortunately sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get the team straight,” he said.
The Jaguars improved to 12-4 overall and 3-3 in Region 14 play. Paris fell to 8-9 and 2-4.
Of the 14 teams in Region 14, only the top 12 qualify for the post-season tournament. At 2-4, the Dragons are now 11thh, ahead of only 1-4 Bossier, 0-5 Panola and 0-5 Blinn.
“Our goal right now is to get into the tournament, that’s what our goal is,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got to keep working and keep moving forward,” Taylor added. “But I think we headed in that direction tonight. I think there were some valuable lessons learned tonight, and from this point on we’re going to really move forward.”
Devon Anderson, Daniel Skinner and Mitchell Farr knocked down three 3-pointers apiece for Jacksonville, which ended up with 12 long-range goals to five for Paris.
Yearwood, a strong rebounder who helped lead Dallas Kimball to a high school state championship last season, led the Paris scoring attack with 19 points. He was the only Dragon in double figures.
“We played hard. Wasn’t no quit in us. That’s something you look for. Sheldon did a great job tonight,” Taylor said.
The other starters were guards David Tucker and Courtney Austin, who also played for Kimball’s back-to-back state championship teams, and forwards Mo Mitchell and Will Ransom,
The only other players who saw first-half action Tuesday were shooting guard Eddie Leal and forward Delvin Dickerson.
Anthony, Harmon and Arnold came onto the floor early in the second half, along with freshman point guard Chris Jones and 6-11 freshman center Lamar Walker.
Walker made three quick baskets toward the end of the game, including a monster dunk, that helped make the score more respectable.
“Again, I was pleased with the effort of the guys that had an opportunity to step up, and that’s going to help us later on down the road with our depth,” Taylor said.
“I think it will give Sheldon some confidence, and Lamar came on late and did some good things for us, so we’ve got some things to build on, and I’m enthused about that. Obviously, we’ve got to continue to work to get better with our defense.”
The Paris-Jacksonville game was the only conference game played Tuesday night. That gave other coaches in the league an opportunity to attend.
Coaches Brian Hoberecht of Kilgore, Mike Marquis of Tyler and Kris Baumann of Trinity Valley sat together in the bleachers.
“Well, they didn’t get to see a lot, so that was good,” Taylor said.
Paris (8-9, 2-4): Antonio Arnold 3 1-2 9, Mike Harmon 1 0-0 3, Anthony Adams 2 0-0 4, Chris Jones 0 0-0 0, David Tucker 1 0-0 2, Delvin Dickerson 2 1-4 5, Eddie Leal 2 3-4 9, Lamar Walker 3 0-0 6, Sheldon Yearwood 9 1-4 19, Courtney Austin 2 0-0 4, Mo Mitchell 3 0 0-0 6, Will Ransom 3 0-0 6. Totals: 31 6-14 73. Three-Pointers: 5 (Arnold 2, Harmon 1, Leal 2).
Jacksonville (12-4, 3-3): Tyrell Springer 6 0-0 12, Daniel Skinner 6 1-2 16, Nimrod Hilliard 4 0-0 9, Louis Cox 1 0-0 2, Devon Anderson 7 0-0 17, Chris Singhateh 2 0-0 5, Derrick Modest 2 0-0 4, Mitchell Farr 4 0-0 11, Kennedy Eubanks 3 3-3 10. Totals: 35 4-5 86. Three-Pointers: 12 (Skinner 3, Hilliard 1, Anderson 3, Singhateh 1, Farr 3, Eubanks 1).